SALEM, Ohio — The group travel industry will lead the way as tourism inches toward normality and provides millions of Americans with much-needed recreation and social interaction. The simple reason: People choose to travel with a group of known friends and family for the comfort, value and perceived safety of being part of that group. That alone will jump-start group travel in America post-COVID-19.
Travel is one of Americas most valued freedoms. Our forefathers fought for it, and today’s generation have come to expect travel as a right. A few years ago, there was a public service campaign — “Travel: The Perfect Freedom” — that has never been so meaningful as it is today.
Understanding the reason behind the group travel resurgence requires an understanding of why people choose to travel as a group and, more importantly, the key factor that motivates this travel. The real motivators of group travel are the individuals known as travel organizers, tour planners and group leaders.
Travel organizers have powerful reach into their communities and social networks. Mostly volunteers, they have gained the confidence of upward of 100 loyal travel followers, who will sign up for every trip offered with the expectation of traveling with friends and the perceived safety of that group.
Group leaders who know the travel pulse of their followers and provide them with easy, affordable and safe travel options — a group tour package — will be there to serve the pent-up demand of the public once restrictions are lifted.
Considering the recent trauma it has endured, how long will it take for travel to return to normalcy? Not as long as you might expect. The answer is quite optimistic. A recent survey by the respected market research firm Harris showed that while 20% of America would consider staying in a hotel just 30 days following a return to normalcy, that number jumped to 66% at just six months following a return to normalcy. Our internal research with group travelers shortens that period to about three months.
The main reason for the shortened return to travel in the group market is focused entirely in the concept of travel with known people and the ease of booking travel with their local group leaders. Group travel leaders and organizers reading this publication need to have faith that their trips will still operate. Run a trip up the flagpole and you will be surprised at how thankful your community will be that you are providing a much needed service.
Contact The Group Travel Family at 800-628-0993 for help in jump-starting your travel program.