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It’s Easy to Brighten Your Travelers’ Holidays

Holiday-themed travel is popular among groups, and there are ways to make it extra special.

Most travel planners don’t need much help selling holiday-themed tours. Customers enjoy those Christmas-inspired tours to destinations all decorated for the holidays. However, after years of touring, how can you take it to the next level?

It may be difficult to keep all travelers cheerful for the entire tour, but try these ideas to make this year’s holiday tour even better.

Cheerful Greetings

Make greetings extra special! Arrive at the pick-up spot early to hand out coffee and hot chocolate to guests as they arrive. If there are multiple pick-up stops, build in time to make a surprise stop at a local cafe and have a hot drink waiting. Get the tour off to a great start with a warm tummy!

Also, help travelers get in the holiday spirit with some popular Christmas-themed music as they arrive. Make greeting them extra cheery and let them know up front there will be some surprises this year. This creates anticipation for the next stop. Travelers will be singing along to tunes and wondering what is in store for them next.

Gifts Galore

Make your stops extra special with a gift! As travelers take their seats on the bus after each stop, announce they have a gift waiting for them. Build the price of gifts at each stop — even if they’re only worth a little bit — into your budget. A gift themed with the stop will make it even more special. Ornaments, postcards and mugs are popular gifts for meal stops. Try sweet treats or snacks on nonfood stops. Combining them with a cookie, fudge or even caramel corn will make the stop even more memorable.

Hotel Surprises

Make hotel stays extra special with an in-room surprise! What could make an experience more special than a milk-and-cookie delivery to a guest’s room? Try to arrange in-room gifts with the hotel in advance, or deliver them in person after the group arrives. Try to deliver the surprise as soon as the group arrives, as some people go to bed early. If it is late at night, consider passing the milk and cookies out as travelers walk into the lobby. If so inclined, try dressing up like Santa or Mrs. Claus when delivering the milk and cookies  or hire a local Santa or elf to do it for you.

Holiday Entertainment

Make farewell night extra special with entertainment! One group’s favorite surprise was visiting a local church to hear an excellent choir sing. Try contacting the convention and visitors bureau in the place you’ll be visiting and find out if local choirs perform for visitors. Often, school or church choirs will perform for a donation. Or add a violinist or guitarist to the farewell dinner night. Be sure and hire someone who can play many Christmas tunes and be present to greet the guests with music as they arrive. What’s better than favorite Christmas tunes being played while dining?

Enchanted Goodbye

Make your goodbye extra special with kind words and one final surprise! As the tour comes to an end, make your way through the bus, asking your travelers what their favorite moments were. Then end your tour with a nice Christmas poem or story. That’s right! Read to your travelers a nice short Christmas story. After reading to them, pass out one last gift. For this gift, I suggest having fun. Go to your local dollar store and purchase random gifts and wrap them. Pass out the gifts and have everyone open them on the bus before arriving home. Laughter is a great way to end your tour; everyone could always use laughter!

The holidays are such a fun time to travel. Everything is decorated and towns put extra care into making things look nice. Communities host events and create fun activities for locals and tourists alike. You can create an even better experience by adding extra care to your holiday tours.

What little surprises or extras can you add to your tour as you look ahead to your holiday season? When in doubt, ask yourself: What can I do to make this experience more special?

Ashley Runyon

Ashley Taylor is a longtime bank and travel club planner. She lives in Ashland, Kentucky, with her family of six.