The world of travel transportation is not what it used to be. And in many cases, that’s a good thing.
Most travelers don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the vehicles that will transport them from point A to point B, but maybe they should. After all, it’s common to spend more waking hours in a plane, a motorcoach or a car than in any other single place during the course of a trip.
For group travel planners, thinking about transportation is crucial. Developments in technology, upgrades in vehicle amenities, demographic shifts and economic pressures have brought about significant changes to the transportation used at every step of a group trip.
Here are five key trends in transportation to consider when planning trips for the coming year.
The prevalence of Internet-connected phones and tablets in society today has helped to spur the build-out of wireless Internet service, or Wi-Fi, in nearly every public place imaginable. Beyond coffee shops and hotel lobbies, today’s travelers can pay a nominal fee for Wi-Fi on many commercial flights in the United States. The demand for Wi-Fi has also prompted many motorcoach companies to install Internet service on their buses, both in the United States and throughout Europe. If your travelers relish the opportunity to share their photos and videos in real time, you should insist on free Wi-Fi service when you book a motorcoach.
Smaller, Nicer Vehicles
The traditional motorcoach, fitted with 45 to 50 seats, made a lot of sense for travel planners who could reasonably expect to fill the vehicle with the passengers they recruited for their trips. But as groups continue to get smaller and travelers seek more intimate group experiences, the full-size coach may not always be the best solution. Some manufacturers have begun introducing smaller vehicles that are perfectly equipped to handle 15 to 25 passengers and that cost less than full-size buses. Others have taken some seats out of the traditional coach configuration and replaced them with benches, galleys, bars and other amenities that make long rides more luxurious.