Great group trips don’t always require traveling halfway around the world. Fantastic experiences can be found close to home, sometimes much closer than you think.
Day trips are a staple of the group travel industry, and they should be part of your program. These quick excursions offer several benefits: They allow you to offer activity with more frequency, since they are easier to plan and consume less of your time. They allow members that don’t have the time or money to join longer trips to still participate in the travel program. And the serve as an excellent recruitment tool, as new participants who have fun on a day trip are more likely to join your loyalty program or sign up for a longer trip in the future.
To help you make day trips a successful part of your travel program, here are five ideas for outing activities, as well as five practical considerations to keep in mind as you plan.
Trip Idea: Special Events
Sports, concerts, theatrical performances and other ticketed events can be a good foundation to a day tour. If you live near a city that offers these activities, consider building day trips around them. It’s likely that people in your community are already fans and will enjoy attending the event while letting you take care of all the details. And the visibility of these events will make it easy for you to market the trips to potential travelers.
Trip Idea: Shopping
It’s no surprise that shopping is a popular part of almost any group tour, and you probably have travelers who complain that your usual itineraries don’t allow them enough time to shop. To remedy that, offer a full-day trip to a nearby outlet mall, a downtown retail district or other popular shopping destination. Work with the local tourism office to arrange some coupon books or other perks, and you’ll give your travelers a shopping experience that they couldn’t get on their own.
Trip Idea: Water Excursions
Most Americans live within a short drive of a lake, a river or a coastline, which means they are surrounded by opportunities to get out on the water. In cities and waterfront communities around the country, groups can take sightseeing cruises, charter fishing boats, go whale-watching and otherwise enjoy the aquatic life. Dinner and entertainment cruises are a great value for groups, offering a meal, music, dancing and the chance to interact and build friendships.
Trip Idea: Memorable Dining
For some travelers, food is the most exciting part of any trip, and chances are that a big city or a small town somewhere within a short drive of your headquarters has a restaurant that is well known among members of your community. Offer the food lovers in your membership a trip built around a meal at this establishment, and pull out all the stops to make sure they have a memorable, over-the-top experience. Since nobody must drive themselves home after the meal, people may feel freer to indulge.
Trip Idea: Hometown Tourist
We all tend to take for granted the interesting attractions and experiences in our own backyards. Chances are good that your own city has some things to offer visitors, and it’s likely that some of your group members have never taken time to explore them. So consider planning a day trip that doesn’t leave the area but instead focuses on touring the best sites in and around the city, just as you would if you took the group to another destination.