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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Discussing Intangibles

At our buyer breakout session this year at the Select Traveler Conference, I decided to include a discussion of “intangibles” that we normally don’t discuss. Our model is to ask objective questions: things that have to do with destination preferences, how social media affects marketing, the optimal size for a group on a trip, etc.

I decided this year to include a couple of questions about job satisfaction, planners’ enjoyment levels during trips and other things more qualitative than quantitative. Here’s what we found out.

Most in the room said they enjoyed their travel time with their groups more today than five years ago. Many used the terms “family” and “together” in their responses, saying the more their groups travel together, the more everyone enjoys the experience. The familiarity that develops generates a comfort level that makes most planners’ jobs more enjoyable.

Most also answered they were now enjoying their day-to-day work activities more than five years ago. Several mentioned their job satisfaction increases as they learn more about travel and group dynamics. Several said the many details involved were stressful but most said they are enjoying their jobs more than they did five years ago.

Two other responses from this group of roughly 100 got my attention when we asked about succession planning and whether someone would step up when they retire. One replied, “Yes, our bank will take care of that. Our program is important.” Another wrote, “Yes, my co-workers have been coming along for a long time.”

It sounds like the management in many of these institutions continues to see the benefits of something that is intangible: Memorable travel experiences with other group members drive loyalty to an institution.