SALEM, Ohio — Group travel is an interesting animal. Thousands of people volunteer their time to organize trips for their community members with little or no compensation, except for the pleasure of perhaps traveling on the trip free of charge while taking responsibility for 40 people, day and night. Yet The Group Travel Family serves 25,000 of these travel planners nationwide every year.
These volunteer group travel leaders are the backbone of the travel industry but are widely misunderstood. They get 10 million travelers a year off the couch and onto planes, ships and motorcoaches traveling to every state in the United States, as well as almost every country in the world. But they’re misunderstood because they fly under the radar. They are mostly community volunteers. They are not in business, and most don’t even find it necessary to have a business card. But that’s not important. The 10 million people in their communities know exactly how to find them: at churches, meeting halls, social events or even the grocery store.
That is great news for the travel industry because it fills hotel rooms, gets visitors to museums and sells meals at every destination in America.
Why would these volunteer group leaders go to such extreme effort for no more than a free trip? They do it because it is their mission to serve the community, and they know the good that comes from traveling as a group. It’s not just the sightseeing; it’s about camaraderie.
“We have served the group travel planner for 25 years by delivering education, networking, marketplaces and insight to help them plan better trips and be better-equipped travel planners,” said Charlie Presley, founder of The Group Travel Family.
That effort has resulted in a generation of groups that are experiencing membership growth as well as improved travel planning.
“The people in group travel change, but the formula is strong, and we see new generations entering the arena,” Presley said. “It’s interesting — a whole new generation of volunteers leading travel and for the same reason as their predecessors: to do good in the community.”
If you’re a travel planner or a member of the travel industry looking to meet travel planners, visit www.grouptravelfamily.com.