A&K Shares Surprising Findings From Antarctica Guest Survey

Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) recently conducted a survey of guests who traveled to Antarctica last season to better understand what inspired them to choose the destination. Some of the findings may cause travel advisors to rethink how to target likely prospects.

The majority of guests reported an interest in seeing wildlife in their natural environment and have been on safari in Africa or cruised in Alaska or the Galapagos Islands. Others were accomplished photographers or passionate about history, enthralled by stories of the Shackleton and the "Heroic Age of Exploration." Beyond sharing an interest in wildlife, photography or history, there were some unexpected findings.

The survey revealed that 64 percent of respondents celebrated reaching their seventh continent. For many travelers, Antarctica is the last continent on their travel bucket list and one they plan for far in advance. “Many of our Antarctica guests have explored the world in search of adventure and are eager to achieve this milestone,” explained Stefanie Schmudde, senior vice president, global product strategy, product development & operations, A&K USA. “I encourage travel advisors to mine their databases for clients who have already been to five continents and plant the seed about where to go next, with enough lead time to get the seventh continent journey on the books.”

Antarctica_Abercrombie & Kent
For many travelers, Antarctica is the last continent on their travel bucket list and one they plan for far in advance (Abercrombie & Kent)

On the other hand, while many think of Antarctica as a once-in-a-lifetime destination, the survey found that 17 percent of respondents had been to Antarctica before. “When targeting likely prospects, there is significant value considering clients who have already been to Antarctica,” said Schmudde. “This is a place we see our guests come back to again and again. Many who visited the Antarctic Peninsula on their first cruise, returned because they wanted to see king penguins and learn more about Shackleton on South Georgia. Last season, we had a guest returning for the sixth time and is already confirmed for their seventh voyage!”

A growing number of guests are ready to make their dream of reaching Antarctica a reality, even when friends and family are not available to join them. The survey showed that 13 percent of respondents made the journey to Antarctica with A&K as a solo traveler. “The social nature of expedition cruising is what makes an individual traveler a great prospect for Antarctica,” said Schmudde. “From Zodiac excursions to nightly recaps, there are opportunities throughout each day for solo guests to connect with other like-minded travelers, and sometimes even future travel companions.”

While many guests celebrate reaching their seventh continent in Antarctica and others are ready to return again and again, A&K found that 11 percent of those surveyed had never been on a cruise before, choosing Antarctica for their first vacation at sea. “Expedition cruising is a unique sector of the cruise industry and often attracts a different type of traveler, especially in a destination as untamed as Antarctica,” explained Schmudde. “I would encourage travel advisors to think beyond their existing cruise clientele when targeting Antarctica prospects to identify younger and more active clients craving adventures in far flung destinations.”

Tip: A&K is offering “Four Ways to Save” on new bookings for 2023/24 Antarctica cruises, including a special trade-only offer:

  • Trade-only savings of up to $8,000 per person (available until September 15, 2023)
  • Receive a $1,500 air credit per person on international air booked with A&K
  • Save 50 percent off single supplement on categories 1-3
  • Children sail free in suites when sharing with an adult on “Antarctica, South Georgia & Falklands: Holiday Voyage”

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