Travel coaching niche has potential

Sick of the rat race, Americans are looking to travel to enrich and fulfill their lives and turning to travel coaches to plan life changing trips. Euromonitor International believes that this small niche, spearheaded by the leading company Three Month Visa, has great potential.

Travel and travel coaches change lives

While coaches exist to streamline business travel and advise on trip planning to specific destinations, a new breed of travel coaches is forming, led by the company, Three Month Visa. Tara Russell, the founder, received her coaching certification from Coaches Training Institute and is using her extensive travel experience to help people reach their goals through travel.

Travel coaches are certified work with travellers to uncover the motivations for travel and how to achieve personal goals from their travels. Once these motivations are established, travel coaches work with the clients to research destinations and activities to attain their goals.

While the coach may make recommendations and suggestions, it is up to the client to do the research destinations, activities and industry suppliers. They are responsible for making the final decisions—this empowers the client to take charge of their life, which is at the core of coaching.

Travel coaches, most importantly, help the re-immersion process. This is a crucial part of the travel coach experience as it ensures that clients act upon their experience to improve their lives and take the path that leads them to greater happiness and satisfaction. Many clients are away for an extended period of time. Travel coaches can help with the shock of returning to their daily lives.

Rethinking your priorities, reaching your potential

Demanding jobs and hectic lifestyles, particularly in an uncertain time, are driving people to rethink what is important in life and how they are living.

Travel has always been a means to explore the world to meet new people, experience new cultures and discover oneself. These consumer shifts are driving the trend to working with travel coaches. Other reasons for meeting with a travel coach include: job relocation, the end of a relationship, retirement abroad or a career change.

Consumers may also want to explore the opportunities for specialized holidays, such as ‘volunteer vacations,’ ‘honeymoons with heart.’ Long term travellers are interested in ‘vocation vacations,’ where travellers work in their specialty abroad (e.g. dentists providing free dental care) to extend their trip duration without having to worry about finances.

However, many people have reservations about taking extended trips due to the cost and/or leaving family and significant others behind. Travel coaches are trained to overcome those negatives—to help with financial planning and to find ways of accommodating traveling with families and significant others.

Travellers have returned extremely happy that they travelled with their specific goals and motivations in mind. They gain a greater sense of confidence and purpose. With the travel coaches’ help, they apply those lessons to their daily life whether it’s a career change or a complete re-imagining of their lifestyle.

Corporations realize the return on sabbaticals

Aiding demand for travel coaching is the corporate world’s embrace of sabbaticals. Silicon Valley corporations, such as Cisco Systems, have sabbatical policies to retain employees for the long term. It also boosts morale as sabbatical policies show that companies appreciate their employees’ hard work. Frequent holidays have shown to improve health.

For instance, the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found in 2000 that frequent vacations helped lower the risk of heart attacks in high risk middle-aged men by 50%. As a result, more employees are able to take sabbaticals and travel for longer times.

Befriend a travel coach…

Travel industry suppliers and destinations would benefit from partnering with a travel coach. While travel coaches do not determine the itineraries, suppliers or even activities, they do provide recommendations for clients.

Travel industry suppliers should keep travel coaches informed on their offerings, so that the travel coach can pass along the appropriate materials (brochures, websites) to their clients. Additionally, destinations could keep travel coaches updated on new and upcoming cities, regions and activities that may appeal to their clients. It is important for both industry suppliers and destinations to ensure that their offerings are tailored to the correct audience, offering off the beaten path as well as exclusive activities.

Travel coaches would also benefit from telling suppliers and destinations what their clients are looking for from their trip to ensure product development is on the correct path.

…hire a travel coach

Large corporations with sabbatical policies should have an on-staff travel coach to work with employees to ensure that employees are making the most of their time off and are continuing to develop skills that benefit their work. Additionally, travel coaches can help travellers reassimilate into their daily life and be more productive at work, which may help retain employees after their sabbatical.

High end luxury travel retail companies, such as Abercrombie & Kent, would benefit from having a travel coach on staff. With luxury travellers seeking experience and in some cases, altruistic-based holidays, a travel coach would help their clients receive the most from their trip and achieve the self-actualization that they intended when they book the trip. Additionally, the travel coach can accompany tours to ensure that clients are achieving their goals each day on the trip.

Travel coaching goes global

Travel coaching is not just limited to the US. Other countries would benefit from a travel coach industry. Western Europe, with its generous paid leave, gap year travellers and developed sabbatical programmes, is ripe for travel coaches. Financial city hubs, such as Dubai, may benefit from travel coaches working with large firms to implement sabbatical policies that benefit both their employees and bottom lines.