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Travel Toolbox: Don’t Overlook the Men in Your Groups

Take a peek inside the typical travel group, and you’re likely to see more women than men.

For almost as long as groups have been traveling together, the female-to-male ratio has been significantly higher than 50-50. From the early days of group tourism, when many women outlived their husbands, tours were designed for the ease and comfort of solo female travelers. As a result, the entire tour industry continues to skew female, with some studies indicating that the average group trip consists of about 71 percent women and only 29 percent men.

This imbalance can represent a challenge to travel planners: Because men perceive group trips as being female oriented, they are less likely to go. And because the trips don’t attract many men, planners default to female-oriented customs and practices, creating a cycle that can be difficult to interrupt.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Group trips can provide great opportunities for men to have fun and experience amazing destinations. Here are some simple tips for making your group trips more attractive to men.

Shop Less

Many stops on group tour itineraries are thinly disguised opportunities for shopping. And although everyone enjoys a good souvenir, chances are the men you want to come on your trips are much less interested in shopping than the women are. Although you probably can’t get away with cutting down on shopping time much, you can sidestep the problem by giving men and other nonshoppers in the group something else to do while the shoppers shop. This can include setting up transportation to a nearby attraction or organizing a round of drinks at a local pub.

Go Golfing

If there is one activity that is consistently popular with men of the baby boomer generation, it is golf. A lot of these guys are accustomed to playing golf when they go on individual and family vacations, so adding some optional golf outings could be a great way to attract them to a group trip. You’ll get bonus points if you can take them to destinations that are famous for their golf courses or manage to get them access to courses they might not be able to play on their own.

Get Outdoors

Some guys just can’t stand to be cooped up inside, especially in beautiful destinations where there is a lot to explore outside. And though you might already be including short hikes or guided naturalist walks in these areas, these small tastes of the outdoors likely won’t be enough to satisfy the nature lovers in the group. Men will appreciate opportunities to go hiking, biking, fly-fishing, kayaking, hunting or four wheeling on your trips. Local tourism offices and adventure outfitters can help you manage all the logistics and equipment required for these excursions.

Visit Manly Museums

There are hundreds of museums across the country that cover subject matter that appeals to men. So instead of dragging them through another historic home, treat the guys in your group to a visit to a manly museum. These institutions include auto museums, aviation museums, military museums and other similar places where guys can geek out over cars, guns, airplanes and a host of other manly things. There’s a surprising abundance of these types of museum; if you’re not aware of what your destination has to offer, call the local CVB, and the staff can recommend some attractions in the area.

Beef Up the Food and Drink

If you frequently include meals during your group trips — and those meals involve the “tour menu” at the restaurants you visit — the food and drinks you offer may leave the guys in your group less than satisfied. Men tend to eat bigger portions than women and are more likely to want heavy meat dishes, as opposed to salads and vegetables, so ask your restaurant partners to offer one or two heavier options for your group. And if you include drinks, don’t forget that many men prefer beer or cocktails instead of wine, so you’ll make them happier by offering a better bar selection.