Use the travel personalities to give your group the trip they want, photo by Brian Jewell
Much of traditional group tourism has been built around the interests of Learners and Vacationers, which, unfortunately, leaves many other travel personalities out in the cold. In today’s new world of customization, group leaders can’t afford to leave their travelers unsatisfied. That means it’s time to start creating tours that will appeal to a variety of travel personalities.
First, you should learn your group’s travel personalities. Figuring out how your group members like to experience travel will help you create trips they’ll look forward to, enjoy and remember. Ask some of your frequent travelers what their favorite tour components are, and consider asking your potential travelers for input and ideas when choosing destinations and itinerary items.
When you’re planning the details of a tour, find activities and attractions that will appeal to more than one travel personality. Agritourism and farm visits, for example, can appeal to the Learner, the Connector and the Epicurean, as long as the visit includes opportunities to learn about the farm, connect with the farmer and taste the produce.
Use free time and flextime to accommodate different travel personalities. Free time gives all types of travelers the opportunities to pursue their own interests and allows time for Pilgrims to have special experiences that will satisfy their emotional or spiritual needs on a trip. Flextime means having parts of the tour where participants are given options to do a number of different things. Send one part of your group to the spa while others go horseback riding. Take some of your people to a museum lecture while others go to a dance lesson.
Consider taking special-interest minitours. A few times a year, create tours that are designed to cater to one or two travel personalities. Those tours will probably attract fewer people, but that’s okay, so long as you price the trip accordingly. As every aspect of the trip will be targeted to the interests of the travelers, they can be some of your most memorable and enjoyable tours. They can also help build relationships between people in your church who share common interests.
Finally, work hard, get creative, and enlist help. Any destination can be packaged to appeal to any travel personality: It just requires some legwork and creative thinking. Ask your tour operators and convention and visitors bureau representatives for help in creating memorable experiences. They deal with those things every day and have some great ideas.
Remember, you should never settle for last year’s itinerary. Always evolve, develop and grow your product according to what you learn about your group’s travel personalities.