Courtesy Abercrombie and Kent
Published August 30, 2016
Today’s group travel planners are busy, tech savvy, adventurous and open to new ideas, according to new data collected by The Group Travel Leader.
For the past year, we have been surveying the group leaders, tour operators and travel agents in our readership to find out about their travel activity, their customers and their buying habits. The results paint a picture of a dynamic industry that continues to grow and thrive, with a combination of new ideas and time-tested concepts.
Here is a comprehensive look at the results compiled from 570 survey responses, as well as some key takeaways from each statistic.
Trip Frequency and Group Size
The median group travel organizer plans 10 group trips each year, and those tours average 30 passengers each. But there are some very high performers in the mix: Of those survey respondents, 5 percent reported average group sizes of more than 55 people, and 10 percent said they arrange more than 50 group trips per year.
Key Takeaway: Group tours may be departing with fewer passengers than a decade ago, but planners seem to have adjusted to the “new normal” in this regard and continue to book a high volume of trips.
Retirees still dominate the group travel market, with 41 percent of respondents saying their travelers are between 60 and 70 years of age, and 17 percent saying their travelers are older than 70. But more than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents reported average traveler age between 50 and 60, and 16 percent said their average traveler age is under 50.
Key Takeaway: The average group tour passenger isn’t necessarily as old as many people believe, and a sizable minority are still working. Travel planners and marketers would do well to keep the needs of these younger professionals in mind.
Short, inexpensive trips remain popular among group leaders, with 43 percent reporting that their average trip cost is less than $1,000 per person. An additional 25 percent offer trips costing between $1,000 and $2,000. There is an active segment at the high end of the market, though: 17 percent of planners sell trips costing between $2,000 and $3,000, and 15 percent price their tours above $3,000 per person.
Key Takeaway: It’s foolish to characterize group tourism as a low-budget industry. Destination marketers should sell a variety of products and experiences to reflect the diversity of traveler spending habits.
Many travel groups venture all over the world, with 67 percent of readers saying they take their groups on international trips. An additional 19 percent said they don’t currently go abroad but are open to it. Only 13 percent said they wouldn’t consider offering an international trip.
Key Takeaway: Conditions are ripe for organizations that package and operate overseas travels to make headway in the group market, as most group leaders are receptive to their message.
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