The American traveler doesn’t give up easily. For two years, most followed precautions and made careful deliberations about whether to travel, but few decided their travel lives had changed forever. At no time have I been more aware of that than at our Select Traveler Conference, held March 28-30 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
During our marketplace sessions, destination after destination came over to say how engaged the travel planners were. More than a few said the enthusiasm in the room was the best they’d ever encountered at the conference. “Ready to go” was the phrase we heard repeatedly.
The results from our buyer breakout session bear that out. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers Jill Allen and Fran Rietveld, we discovered the following:
• More than 80% of the buyers in attendance expect to lead from six to 15 or more group trips with their customers in 2023. 73% expect to take that many trips this year.
• The “can’t miss” trips they identified are a collection of outdoor global favorites: Iceland and Africa rated highly for international trips; and Maine, Alaska and Mackinac Island scored well for U.S. trips, as did Western national parks.
• For those planners who have upper management sign off on travel, 81% said their management was “very supportive.”
• Perhaps most importantly, 97% of the planners in attendance described themselves not as “worn out” but as “ready to go.”
The enthusiasm and resilience of this select group of travel buyers is always invigorating to those of us who manage the conference and publish this magazine.
Email me anytime with your thoughts at maclacy (at) grouptravelleader.com.