As an affinity group travel planner, you may frequently encounter people in your organization who wonder if group travel is right for them. They might be skeptical about it, and that’s understandable. So how do you educate them and convince them that group travel is a positive experience?
A few years ago, Judy and Sam walked into my office. They said they had always wanted to go to Branson and had seen the Branson trip flyer in our bank lobby. They were interested in where we were visiting but did not think they would like traveling with our group. I listed every place we would see on our trip and asked if there was anything on their list that wasn’t on ours. They both agreed we hit all their points of interest. So I asked them to tell me why they were hesitant to try group travel.
Judy explained they didn’t know anyone from our bank and had never traveled by bus. I explained the benefits of group travel. Here are the selling points I used.
1. You get to travel without making the hotel arrangements.
When they book solo trips, people are often unsure about which hotel is best for them and how far it is from the places they want to visit. Researching and securing the appropriate activities, hotels and transportation takes a lot of time. When you travel with a group, someone else takes that out of your hands. Your tour planner knows the best hotels and chooses one with the ideal location. Your tour planner does extensive research to ensure everything is of the quality you deserve.
2. Group travel alleviates the stress of planning and executing the trip.
When you travel with a group, the itinerary is prepared in advance. Tour planners don’t just check availability and book activities. They also map out everything to ensure the daily itinerary flows well, with enough time to travel to each location. Creating an itinerary can be a very stressful part of booking a trip on your own. With group travel, someone with more experience takes care of everything for you. You can pack your bags stress-free, knowing it has all been planned for you.
3. Traveling in a group is safer.
Your tour planner has researched the areas you will visit and knows the safest routes. Your tour director always looks out for you and notices if you are not at check-in. Members of your travel group also look out for each other. I cannot tell you how many times I or another passenger has noticed that someone left an item behind and was able to grab it. The tour director often checks before leaving to make sure everyone and their possessions are with the group.
4. Group travel can save you money.
Travel planners often get discounts when purchasing for groups and they can pass those savings on to you. When you purchase your trip with your affinity group, notice what is included. It is not just your hotel and transportation. With group tours, you often get many meals, entrance fees and guided tours as well.
5. Meeting new people and making new friends is my favorite part of group travel.
Over the years, I have watched so many friendships start from a conversation across the aisle on a motorcoach. You already have things in common with those you are traveling with. You are from the same area and are interested in the places you are traveling to. As a former bank travel planner, I watched strong bonds form between solo travelers and between couples who went on trips together. Traveling with someone is very intimate; even the most introverted person can create friendships through shared travel experiences.
Group travel brings like-minded people together, creates many shared memories and forms an intimate bond that only those present can share. It takes away the stress of planning, saves you money and is safer. It allows you to skip the booking and go straight to the packing.
Judy and Sam decided to come along on my Branson trip. And just as I had predicted, they met another couple on the trip and became friends. Their friendship didn’t end with the Branson trip; they go to dinners with each other and often travel together.
They now always choose group travel and realize how much more enjoyable travel can be when they do it with other people.