Posted by Williams Helde Staff

Keep It Real: The Active Explorer’s continuous search for authenticity

As it warms up outside and more travelers flee to foreign lands, it seems the perfect time to broach the subject of authentic experiences.

We hear it every day. People want “real” experiences. More and more, consumers strive to live like locals, if only for a few days. Acting as chameleons, blending into their temporary surroundings to truly experience a place for its roots and culture.

Last year, we surveyed more than 400 Active Explorers and learned what drives this demographic to explore as well as what shapes their travel habits.

Now, recent studies show that frequent millennial travelers (who also happen to make up a large portion of the Active Explorer demographic, nudge nudge) are more interested in walking a day in the shoes of a local than a cookie-cutter, vacation-in-a-box type of tourist package.

The classic breed of tourist as we know it is a dying one. Fanny packs and maps flown full staff are the tools of yesterday, replaced by mobile devices and app stores. LonelyPlanet is becoming a lonely place as millennials ditch traditional guidebooks for peer recommendations through social media or Yelp ratings.

Sure, attractions like the Space Needle or Eiffel Tower still hold appeal to the deep-seated tourist in all of us, but the younger generation of frequent travelers would rather take a moment to veer off the beaten path for a more fulfilling travel experience than surround themselves with other visitors.

Why cab around Copenhagen when you could blend in, unnoticed, biking alongside the Danish baker? Why spend your time gazing at Times Square when you could camp out on a rooftop in Brooklyn? These are the stories millennial travelers want to tell—a personal experience tailored to them.

So, what does this mean for your brand? It’s yet another cue to stay genuine in your mission and values while offering unique experiences your competitors can’t match. Don’t just say you’re authentic. Be authentic. Build trust. It’s the holistic experience that consumers crave, with 63% of global consumers expressing they would prefer to buy from a company they deem authentic.

There’s a reason campaigns like Dove’s Real Beauty and Chipotle’s Food with Integrity continue to resonate with people. The Active Explorer holds authenticity in high regard—whether shaping their travels into cultural adventures or engaging with your brand. Keeping it real has never been so vital.

Need help figuring out what your brand is all about and how you can convey the truest version of your product or service? Let us lend you a hand.

Williams Helde Staff
About the Author

Williams Helde Staff

Seattle-based Williams Helde helps build active, healthy brands through marketing communications, PR, advertising and design.