Travelers Care About Culinary More Than You Think

By: Jenna Blumenfeld, Arival


For some hard-core outdoor enthusiasts, subsiding on GORP is a perfectly suitable way to power recreation. For this small group of culinary-agnostic people, food exists for fuel, not necessarily enjoyment.

But for the vast majority of travelers in the United States, a squashed Clif bar unearthed from the bottom of a dry bag isn’t going to cut it.

According to Arival’s 2019 State of In-Destination report, a comprehensive study which surveyed 1,000 travelers from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, food and drink was ranked as one of the most valuable aspects of the in-destination experience. 39% of travelers ranked food and drink as “very important”; 29% of travelers ranked it as “extremely important.” Culinary scored even higher on the travel hierarchy than seeing famous sites, experiencing local authenticity and adventure.


What does this mean for your business?

It means food matters—even if your tour, activity, experience or attraction is focused on adventure, extreme sports or spending time in nature. Arival’s research suggests that elevating food and drink for your clients can make a big impact on customer satisfaction. Here are top ways to boost the quality of food offerings for your tour, with minimal effort.

A woman and man sit by a camp fire with delicious food

1. Make your meeting location count

If your tour or activity involves meeting travelers at a specific location, make it a spot that has tasty, authentic or unique food and drink offerings. For instance, instead of meeting travelers at a gas station parking lot, change the location to the nearby local craft coffee shop; or a food stand that offers the best breakfast burritos in town.

Your customers will appreciate having the option for tasty grub prior to their excursion, and the local cafe will love the extra business.

2. Swap your snacks

Snacks are an integral part of any outdoor trip. But many options are loaded with excess sugar, salt, and artificial flavors and colors. Thankfully, there is a world of natural snacks available that still fulfill the portability and nutritional requirements of the conventional stuff.

Seek out snacks that feature USDA Organic ingredients, and contain nutrient-dense add-ins such as nuts, whole grains, dried fruits, and natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar. Steer clear of products that use high-fructose corn syrup. Be mindful to offer snack options that cater to special diets, too.

3. Invest in a chef (or a foodie guide)

For longer trips that necessitate full meals, it’s worth hiring a chef or a food-obsessed guide to cook high-quality breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s important to note that high-quality doesn’t necessarily mean complicated. When cooked properly, few-ingredient meals can yield delicious and impressive results. For example, swap dehydrated meals for wild rice, grilled veggies and fish—and don’t dare skimp on the condiments.


About Arival


Arival is the only event for the creators and sellers of tours, activities and attractions. Dedicated to advancing and defining the in-destination industry—the things travelers do once they arrive at their destination—Arival’s mission is to inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies by providing space to share knowledge, build connections and understand opportunities in the fastest growing sector of travel.

Join 1,000 of your in-destination industry peers at Arival Orlando, held October 28-31, 2019, to hear from the brightest minds and biggest brands in travel, get the lowdown on the latest tech innovations and exchange ideas with operators from around the world.

America Outdoors members can save 10% on Arival Orlando ticket pricing using this exclusive discount code: MCPTAOA19. (Register before August 31 and receive an additional $200 off with Last Chance to Save pricing!)


Register Now for Arival Orlando 2019


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