LOHAS: The biggest market you have never heard of
It’s hard to imagine that there is a big market of tourists that you never have heard of, tourists that are eager to spent money and who are less price sensitive than the classical tourist. Already in 2003 the New York times was writing about this group. Nevertheless a lot of destinations and tour operators are not aware of this group or the potential that lies in it.
The group is getting bigger and bigger
For more than a decade the LOHAS market has grown continuously. LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability. You can find LOHAS-tourists in any segment like Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers. This group cares about themselves, other people and the planet. They have a high income and want to enjoy without having a bad conscience. They also often donate money to charity organizations.
Over 100 million people worldwide
The LOHAS groups cares about sustainability, fair treatment of people and about the environment. Worldwide there are more than 100 Million people who belong to this group. Impressive are the figures in Sweden where around 38% of the population belongs to the LOHAS group (2016). It is expected that this figure reaches 52% in the year 2025. In the rest of Scandinavia the size of the group is a bit smaller but with 25% still relatively high. In Central Europe the group is around 20% big while in the US it reaches 30%. And the LOHAS movement is growing year by year.
LOHAS people love to travel sustainable
A lot of people in the LOHAS group consider themselves global citizens. They are neither extremists nor militant. They love to travel sustainable. 9 of 10 buy ecological food. 8 of 10 choose shops depending of their ecological and fair trade offer. The figures for choosing destinations and tour operators are similar. In general there are more women than men in this group. Most of them live in cities and are aged between 35 and 60 year. They are highly educated and like to learn new languages.
LOHAS people have big interest in politics, society and global questions. They like to read books, newspapers and magazines, prefer tv-news instead of reality-shows and watch less tv in general. This group is often asked by friends for giving information and advise.
Sustainable travellers in the lead
LOHAS citizens are aware of that they are one step ahead. Others are also aware of their leading role and many take them as a good example. This group socializes a lot. They like to meet others and travel often with friends. They enjoy life, natural and fair produced clothes, they like to prepare food out of local grown products and also like to discuss about food. This group enjoys nature and gardening. A big part of the LOHAS citizens is glad for traditions.
LOHAS travellers spend more money and stay longer
Authenticity is very important for this group of people and they are willing and capable of paying for this. Quality comes always before quantity. LOHAS travellers spend up to 50 percent more money during their stay. They often stay longer than standard travelers, quite often one to two weeks instead of just a few days like others do.
Good informationen and well trained stuff is appreciated
Nevertheless this group also likes to get special offers and products or services that are only available for club members. Stuff in stores should be kind, nice and well informed with a good knowledge about the product and sustainability. LOHAS people expect good and sound information about the product on websites, in brochures or on signs. They want to be sure that services and products they buy are good for their health, good for people involved and good for the planet. Hence they don’t like souvenirs from far away, produced cheaply and under bad conditions. Good to know! This group likes to be early adopters and try new things first.
Be aware: People of the LOHAS group don’t like to be lured by false promises that a destination, hotel or tour operator cannot keep. They read the small prints. Better be honest with them! Don’t try to fool them with greenwashing (A common strategy to let products and services look sustainable without being so. A look under the surface or behind the scenes shows that offers are neither green nor fair. People get fooled.) LOHAS people find out immediately and stay away.
Strategies to reach out to the LOHAS group
A good strategy to reach out to the LOHAS group is to tell them why you do care about sustainability, what do you do to be sustainable and how this affects your business. Show them your positive results. Explain your plans and what you do to fulfill them. Be concrete about it, be honest and be trustworthy.
Invest in good marketing and story telling that makes the people want to come to your place, have a great and unforgettable experience without harming the people and the planet. Focus on people (people, locally and globally) not things. Tell the tourist about their positiv impact, honestly and concrete. Sustainable tourism is the future. Make it easy to be part of it.
LOHAS will help your business
Of course, the LOHAS group is not the only group to focus about. There are a lot of others. But this one is growing, wealthy and eager to spent money. And doing good for your destination or business will even be attractive for other groups and in the end will be good for you!