Leave it to our readers to identify the evolutionary trends that will characterize group travel as a result of the crippling effects of the pandemic of 2020. At our breakout session at the Select Traveler Conference, which took place in August in French Lick, Indiana, veteran planners showed a startling consistency in their insights when answering the questions we posed.
When we asked what the lasting effects of this immeasurably disruptive year would be, the groups of four to five travel planners, who distanced themselves from one another across a dozen tables, agreed on these five new realities when group travel picks up:
• Travel groups will continue to become more personal as group members increasingly know each other on their trips.
• Prices will likely increase, since the smaller groups will be spreading shared costs such as transportation among fewer people.
• The pace of a trip will slow as travelers will need to spend more time in any given venue or site due to the necessity for more hygiene practices.
• The practice of combining groups by tour operators will become less common because many people will not want to travel with people they don’t know.
• Trips will sell out earlier due to smaller head counts and travelers’ desire to know each other when they sign up.
I say this every year, but it’s continually the case: These small group discussions held at the Select Traveler Conference are a real source of grassroots intelligence that you can take to the bank. (No pun intended.)
If you’d like a copy of the overall summary of these breakouts, send me an email at the address below, and I’ll send one to you.
Email me anytime with your thoughts at maclacy (at) grouptravelleader.com.