Published July 17, 2018
At the 2018 Select Traveler Conference, held last February in Louisville, more than 100 travel planner delegates identified four key conditions or trends that affect their overall success as travel organizers. For our Marquee issue of Select Traveler, we examine each of those using the personal observations of many of these attendees during their annual breakout session.
Smaller groups are replacing larger groups on many trips, and some planners create smaller groups intentionally to improve the overall travel experience.
What they said:
• Some of us are offering more trips so that our group sizes go down. And trip costs are going up, which also affects group size.
• We like day trips at 45 [travelers] and overnight trips at 20 to 35. Our travelers are becoming more independent.
• We are using waiting lists, which are good because people must sign up or they will be wait-listed. That also means creating a smaller group size to begin with, which is not a bad thing.
• For coach trips, we still do 40 people or so. For international trips, we like 20 to 25 or so. That’s easier to manage.
“This is a trend the entire industry has been watching for several years, but this year was the first time we’ve heard some of the planners say they intentionally create smaller groups for certain trips,” said Select Traveler publisher Mac Lacy. “I think what we’re seeing is a realization that taking a smaller group overseas is not only much less stressful but also creates a better, more personalized travel experience in a foreign country. I also think the tour operators handling these groups realize that if they provide more personalized travel experiences abroad, they are much more likely to retain the business of these high-end travel programs.”