Going On Faith
Published May 17, 2016
Either from necessity or by choice, many faith-based traveling groups do not resemble what they did 20 years ago. Instead of motorcoaches full of 40 plus people, many religious groups (as well as other traveling groups), now pull up to destinations with less than 25 people.
These smaller group tours create new challenges for planners trying to create a viable travel club, but they also attract the attention of boomers and younger travelers who have no desire to sit crammed in a motorcoach with a large group.
Whether your faith-based travel club’s trips stay small despite your best efforts or intentionally, these tips will help you succeed with small-group trips.
Some planners worry when only 20 or fewer people sign up for trips. They would prefer to completely book a trip, but can’t seem to find the willing travelers. But for international and more exotic trips, these smaller numbers can prove the norm.
Other planners look at the mayhem and restrictions involved in planning for huge groups of people and opt out. They will restrict the amount of people who can sign up as a way to stay in better touch with all of the travelers, as well as to draw in otherwise reluctant boomer travelers.
When first considering traveling with a smaller number, crunch the numbers and see if you can create a workable travel product with a fewer number. The price tends to go up the more travelers, which fits some faith-based groups better than others.
Browse the packaged small tours from tour operators you trust to understand the price difference. After considering, if you feel you would have to cancel a trip with fewer passengers, consider combining your group with another small faith-based group.
Network with similar faith-based travel planners to see if they would consider a joint trip in case your numbers won’t fill a motorcoach. This benefits everyone, since the travelers wouldn’t be able to go at all without the additional people.
Embrace the space
If you want to try a smaller group, first offer something creative or unusual in the itinerary so the trip seems like more of a bargain. Exclusive and experiential activities often convince travelers the trip is worth shelling out some extra money.
Second, use the cozy size of your group to your advantage. Boast the pros of traveling with fewer numbers, such as less crowded vehicles, more tour flexibility and the ability to add more free time.
Talk to your potential travelers about the amount of time saved when you don’t have to wait for 30 people to board and de-board a motorcoach, as well as any other similar group tasks.
Package the limited number of customers as part of the deal that will allow them to stay at more intimate accommodations and restaurants. Many travelers will seek out trips with off-the-beaten-trail experiences that larger groups might not be able to finagle.
Your trips may have a smaller passenger count, but the satisfaction experienced during these specialized tours will ensure repeat travelers.