Women Adventure Travel Industry Overview
The projected market size of the women’s adventure industry in the US in 2019 is $336 billion. The adventure industry will grow at a CAGR of 13.3% from 2019 to 2016.
- In 2017, the market size of the adventure industry in the US was $524 billion.
- Market Watch estimates that the adventure tourism market will grow at CAGR of 13.3% from 2019 to 2026.
- 160 million people in the US are adventure travelers. Half of the people who are adventure travelers in the US are women (50%).
- Women spend an estimated $50 billion per year on the gear they use for adventure travel.
- 28% of the women who are adventure travelers do it alone.
To find the projected market size of the women’s adventure industry in the US, the research team had to triangulate the market size using two data points. First, the team searched for the total market share of adventure travel in the US, which was $524 billion. It then searched for the percentage that women contributed to the adventure travel market share. It found out that 50% of US adventure travelers are women. The team, therefore, assumed that women were responsible for 50% of the adventure industry market share. Using these two data points, the team then used the percentage of women adventure travelers to estimate their market share in the industry.= 50% OF $524 billion= $262 billion in 2017Project market size in 2019:= Market size in 2017 * (1 + CAGR)^2= $262 billion * (1+13.3%)^2= $262 billion * 1.28= $336 billion.
Women Adventure Travel: Case Studies
Over the past few years, there has been a significant cultural shift in the women’s adventure travel industry with an increasing need for women to explore the world by themselves. Women are taking the chance to step out of their comfort zone more often with the desire to learn, celebrate, and experience personal growth. Two of the most popular and successful women adventure companies in the United States are WHOA Travel and AdventureWomen. Both these companies have made their marks as pioneers in the women adventure industry by not only providing their clients with unique experiences but also help build communities that support women travelers in various aspects of growth.
Case Study #1: WHOA Travel
- Founded in the year 2013 by adventure lovers, Danielle Thornton and Allison Fleece, WHOA Travel is a women’s adventure travel company that provides curated trips and expeditions for women, encouraging them to embrace the world’s unknown together. The company’s mission is to design adventure experiences that motivate women to step out of their comfort zones and make a positive impact on their lives. The company believes in making long-lasting connections and quality relationships by forming partnerships with local non-profit organizations that are dedicated to developing sustainable change.
- WHOA Travel views making impactful experiences as its primary focus and believes that such experiences can be created when women share their love for adventure and life. The company reveals that “this empowering exchange is what makes our adventures so unique and valuable”.
- With every trip the company takes with its customers, they make it a point to give back to the local women by working alongside them to understand their aspirations, dreams, and culture. The founders began by sponsoring Tanzanian women to take part in their expeditions, giving them an opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro. This initiative was then expanded further into various positive actions such as sponsoring women in Nepal through education and turning them into successful travel guides.
- WHOA Travel offers curated trips in the form of ‘Adventures’ and ‘Expeditions’. The company’s Adventures offering includes trips to Kilimanjaro, Peru, Everest base camp trek, Iceland, Bavaria, and Japan. The company’s more popular adventure trips, like the one to Kilimanjaro, are scheduled several times a year while others, such as the trip to Japan, is scheduled to take place once a year. Each experience trip is designed to take women on a lifetime journey to change their perspective of life for the better.
- The WHOAx Expeditions were created for women with a high adventure spirit who want to explore more. These expeditions include trips to Mongolia, Mount Elbrus, New Zealand, and Patagonia — places that WHOA Travel defines as “less chartered adventures”. These trips encourage women to be more independent, pioneers in exploration, and “expect the unexpected” in their travels.
- Apart from the curated expeditions, the company also creates custom adventure trips for groups of various sizes. WHOA Travel also sells travel wear for women on their website.
- In 2017, the founders of WHOA Travel expanded their offerings to include a special segment that focuses on empowering adventurous curvy women by making expeditions more comfortable and accessible for plus size women. The travel division, WHOA Plus, brings plus size women together, addresses their various challenges, and builds a positive community of support and inspiration through every adventure.
- The company’s values, vision, life-changing actions, entrepreneur leadership, adventures, and overall growth have been documented in the company’s official blog and featured in several media publications such as Forbes, The New York Times, Afar, Travel+Leisure, The Oprah Magazine, and PopSugar. According to Adventure.com, the founders of WHOA Travel are some of the “dame disruptors” in the global travel industry.
- WHOA Travel generates an estimated annual revenue of $2.2 million. The company has over 6,378 followers on Facebook and 10,600 followers on Instagram.
Case Study #2: AdventureWomen
- Established in the year 1982, AdventureWomen is owned and operated by Wineland and her daughters, Nicole Wineland-Thomson and Erica Landerson. AdventureWomen is considered to be a pioneer in the women’s exclusive travel industry and offers some novel and unique adventure trips for women over 30 years. Over the years, AdventureWomen has continued to expand its portfolio of adventure trips by offering a wide range of activities and attractive destinations.
- By offering exclusive adventure tours for women around the world, Wineland believes that AdventureWomen empowers them by allowing women travelers to make long-lasting connections and explore new frontiers. According to the company website, AdventureWomen offers over 42 trips that span across 65 countries. Every trip is designed to contain exclusive, unique experiences with curated itineraries that help women challenge themselves both mentally and physically.
- The company offers trips that are broadly classified under four activity/fitness levels — moderate, active, high energy, and challenging.
- For this year (2020), AdventureWomen has scheduled 12 adventure trips in the ‘moderate’ segment covering destinations that include Antarctica, Morocco, Oman, Botswana, Tanzania, Egypt, and Jordan.
- Under the ‘active’ adventure segment, the company has scheduled 14 trips with destinations that include Thailand, Laos, Baja, the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, Costa Rica, Iceland, and Indonesia.
- The ‘high energy’ adventure segment includes 16 trips scheduled in 2020 which includes the following destinations — trekking in Bhutan, hiking in Uganda and Camino, multisport adventure trip to Utah, rafting the Salmon River Canyons in Idaho, various sporting activities in the Canadian Rockies, hiking in Italy, and exploring culture in Japan.
- The more challenging trips scheduled in 2020 include trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest, trekking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, and a lodge-to-lodge trek to the famous Machu Picchu’s Inca ruins.
- The company also offers private, custom tours for groups of various sizes. Some trips that AdventureWomen specialize in planning include reunions, milestone celebrations, multi-generational family trips, “Adventurette Getaways for Bachelorettes and Brides”, and special groups such as book clubs and alumni groups.
- To help accelerate the company’s growth, AdventureWomen created an advisory board of women adventure-lovers who are also long-term clients of the company. The board launched an initiative to train brand ambassadors to guide and accompany travelers. The initiative was developed in accordance with the company’s mission to enhance women’s “confidence, camaraderie, and connection”.
- Each year, the company expands its portfolio of adventure trips, providing a larger variety of unique travel packages with broader diversity for women. For example, in 2018, AdventureWomen introduced new trips such as traveling Iceland on horseback and biking across Chile, and in 2020, the company added trips to Oman, Uganda, Thailand, and Ladakh in India.
- According to an article published by TripSavvy, more than 70% of the company’s clients are repeat customers. Based on data published by Zoominfo, AdventureWomen generates an estimated annual revenue of $31.1 million. The company has over 9,589 followers on Facebook, 2,000 followers on Instagram, and 1,062 followers on Twitter.
We began our search by looking into industry-specific reports, travel blogs, American travel industry statistics focused specifically on women travelers, market reports on the top travel adventure companies for women, and media articles on women-only travel companies. After a thorough search through these challenges, we were able to find several popular women adventure companies in the United States. Of the many companies identified, we short-listed the top two companies based on the variety of adventure trips offered, creative initiatives that were launched over the years, customer feedback, social media presence, and revenue generated. Across various aspects, we found WHOA Travel and AdventureWomen to be two of the best women adventure companies that are both owned and operated by adventure-loving women.