So you've picked an amazing destination for your next group travel trip. The destination is perfect. There's world-class attractions, great entertainment, delicious food, comfortable lodging, and the price is right. So why are you having trouble getting a group together and selling them on the destination? It could be because you're travel itinerary needs a little help.
Before solidifying your travel itinerary, you should consider the following three essential steps to planning your group's schedule. Once you put these tips into practice, you will have an easier time selling the experience, and you may even potentially become known as the best group travel leader ever. Whoa!
Step 1: Get Advice on Planning your Group Trip
Although it may be tempting to plan an entire trip around your interests and likes, be sure to remember that not everyone in the group will like to do the same things as you! This is why it's extremely important to get as much outside advice as possible. Being more knowledgeable about an area and all it has to offer will be beneficial when selling your trip to potential group travelers. Here are a few ways you can gather information for planning an itinerary:
- Contact a local destination marketing organization (DMO)
- Go on a preview tour
- Ask your potential travelers what interests them
DMOs, like tourist boards, chambers of commerce or convention and visitors bureaus can be valuable resources when planning a group trip. Often, these organizations will already have some pre-built itineraries that are popular and group friendly. They can also offer advice on the best places to eat, shop or stay.
Most DMOs also offer some sort of preview tour. These trips, sometimes known as "familiarization (aka FAM) or check-out" tours, will allow you as a group travel leader to personally experience a destination's travel program - and nothing beats first-hand experience or knowledge when it comes to promoting a group trip!
Finally, this may be an obvious tip, but have you considered simply going out and talking to your potential group travelers? Take a few questions along such as, "What do you like most about traveling?" or "What do you look for in a vacation destination?" Learning the interests and personalities of the people going on your trip will help you come up with ideas that are sure to please every traveler.
Step 2: Include a Variety of Travel Options
The second step to planning a group travel itinerary that sells is to be diverse. For example, not everyone in your group may be interested in history, so you shouldn't fill an entire trip with only museums or educational tours. Your travel itinerary should be as diverse as the people in your group in order to satisfy everyone's unique expectations. Some different travel activity options could include:
- Meeting the locals
- Food tours
- Visting a zoo
- Going on a short excursion
Or, if you don't have a way (or the time) to include all of these diverse activities, simply plan for lots of free time on the trip! That way, your group will have the freedom and independence they need to experience what fits their tastes.
Step 3: Focus on the Food
Remember the saying, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach?" Although silly, group travel leaders could apply this saying to their trip planning in that "the way to win over your group is by focusing on having good food". Everyone enjoys eating, so use it to your advantage!
- Eat local
- Make food convenient
Consider researching local food tours or unique culinary experiences near your destination. Maybe there is a chance for the group to meet the chef or to learn about the local cuisine. Farm-to-fork tours are also great ways for groups to get to see where there food is coming from. Remembering to include local food options on your trip and not purely restaurant chains is sure to please everyone's palate.
It is also important to take convenience into consideration when planning your group's meals. If you are visitng an attraction where your group has to fend for themselves for a meal or two, it may be helpful to provide food vouchers ahead of time that they are able to use at the attraction's on-site food locations.
Whatever you decide to include while planning your group travel itinerary, just be sure that you have first-hand experience at the destination, you include a variety of activities to suit everyone's expecations, and that you focus on the food! Most travelers are happy just to be going somewhere, so have fun while planning!
Want more tips? Download our free group tour success tips E-book.