understand the different profiles of a food travellerDid you know that food tourism activities have occupied an increasingly relevant role in the travellers’ agenda? For a long time, the search for experiences through food had been concentrated on restaurants guides, but this has changed. With the boom of experiential entertainment and the ease of access to information through social media, many travellers have been searching for more than a list of restaurants, and this group has expanded considerably. They are the food travellers.

Who are they and what are they looking for?

Read also: After all, what is Food Tourism?

The motivations of the food travellers

These travellers look for experiences that go beyond the palate. They seek experiences that bring knowledge and entertainment through activities that involve food and beverages. For the food traveller, the offer of this type of activity is a decisive factor in choosing a destination. However, even if gastronomy is not the main deciding factor, for many travellers the interest in food tourism is still very relevant. Thus, food tourism applies to all tourists who look for activities that explore the local cuisine.

Do you know your “new” customer?

Food travellers have specific demands and interests. The first step to attract this kind of tourist is to know who they are.

Knowing the different profiles of these travellers helps to understand their preferences, what kind of information they’re interested in and what activities of food tourism tend to participate.

Remember that this knowledge is essential for a good marketing plan and to attend customer expectations.

Management: How to deal with Negative Reviews

The different profiles of the food travellers

It is possible to target food travellers in different ways. Based on our experience and published studies, we have listed some of the main groups that may be relevant to your business.

Gourmet

These travellers like to eat and drink well with exclusivity and quality. They do not necessarily cook, but are quite critical on the palate and are willing to pay a premium price for experiences in renowned establishments. It doesn’t matter whether the cuisine is related to international or local as long as it provides a unique and differentiated experience.

Main activities:

  • Renowned restaurants
  • Visits to beverage production (e.g. distilleries, wineries, breweries)
  • Tasting activities

Gastronomic enthusiast

They’re foodies, people who like to talk about food, watch related programs, love trendy restaurants, and like to cook occasionally. The appreciation of food and beverages concentrates more on the palate, they like to try local food and venture themselves with exotic dishes. They know some local ingredients, but do not seek much information beyond that.

Main activities:

  • Trendy restaurants
  • Cooking Classes
  • Guided tours to markets and gastronomic centres (food tour)
  • Gastronomic festivals

Culturally engaged

These are people who identify themselves with the statement “food is culture”. They like to broaden their knowledge of a certain region through gastronomic experiences. They love to discover new ingredients, even better if introduced by a local person. When engaging in food tourism activities, they seek authenticity, knowledge, and connection with the local culture and community. They are willing to try new flavours and are interested in the history behind the food.

Main activities:

  • Local restaurants
  • Cooking Classes
  • Guided tours to markets and gastronomic centres (food tour)
  • Farm to table activities and visits to local producers
  • Meals with local people
  • Tasting activities
  • Food Festivals

Adventurous

Most of the adventurous are also engaged with the local culture however, they have an additional motivation: to get off the touristic route. Most of them prefer independent activities. Food is not always the greatest motivation, but it is part of the adventure. Explorers, they do not get intimidated to try new flavours and local dishes.

Main activities

  • Local restaurants
  • Meals with local people
  • Independent food tour based on local recommendations
  • Visits to local producers and farms
  • Food Festivals

Social Entertainment

Travellers who use food tourism as entertainment and an opportunity to socialize. The main motivation is to fill the agenda with activities outside their routine. In general, they like to feel safe in relation to food, do not always try dishes with different and exotic flavours. They attend restaurants and activities with good reviews and are willing to pay a little bit more to reduce the risks.

Main activities:

  • Restaurants with good reviews
  • Cooking Classes
  • Guided tours to markets and gastronomic centres
  • Tastings activities
  • Visits to beverage production (e.g. distilleries, wineries, breweries)

Attract your target audience

Do you recognize your customers within each of these profiles? What do you do to attract or meet the expectations of each food traveller?

Understanding your target audience is very important to elaborate on an effective marketing strategy. The interests of each person are different and your marketing material needs to talk with the customer profile you want to attract. In addition, you’ll quite often see that different profiles tend to participate in the same activity, for example on a food tour. It is important to recognise them quickly and be prepared to meet each expectation.

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