Tours and Packages Market Ups the Ante on Experiential Vacations

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 27, 2024 15:00 PMNews
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Group of people traveling mountains together
Group of people traveling mountains together. Source: Photo by Felix Rostig on Unsplash

Today’s travelers are placing a high premium on vacations that offer unique experiences, and the tours and packages niche is no exception. Ashley Switzer, an independent contractor with Sojourney Travel, notes an increase in the average cost per trip, reflecting a growing willingness among clients to invest more in their travel experiences for higher quality and satisfaction. This trend underscores a focus on value and premium offerings within the travel industry.

Cultural Immersion

There is a clear shift toward authentic and distinctive experiences, with travelers seeking deeper cultural immersion and exploring lesser-known destinations. Heather Di Pietro, president and CEO of TravelSalesGroup, highlights the growth in the tours segment, particularly luxury escorted tours. The company has seen a 25 percent increase in sales this year and has added a new advisor specializing in European FITs due to strong demand for custom tours.

Popular Destinations

Europe remains a top seller for tours and packages. Di Pietro mentions high demand for Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. Additionally, destinations like Switzerland and the Northern Lights are gaining popularity. Sarah Kline, president of Time For Travel, also reports strong interest in Europe and more exotic locations like Thailand and Bali. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Henn of LBAC Travel notes that clients are looking for new experiences beyond traditional sun-and-fun destinations, such as St. Maarten and Grand Cayman.

Safety and Convenience

Key selling points for tours and package vacations include safety and convenience. Di Pietro explains that these packages offer the desired experiences with the reassurance of support if needed. Self-drive trips provide flexibility without the need to wait for large groups, combining personal vacation experiences with expert guidance.

Top Benefits of Selling Escorted Tours

Elizabeth Henn highlights the benefits of escorted tours, including ease of travel, opportunities to meet like-minded individuals, and the expertise of local guides. Additionally, paying for components in advance in U.S. dollars provides better value, especially when traveling to Europe.

Seamless Experiences

Clients appreciate the convenience of a seamless, holistic experience where every detail is planned and presented as a cohesive journey. Switzer observes an increase in close rates when offering well-rounded itineraries that alleviate the need for clients to ask follow-up questions, as all components are included.

Exclusive Benefits

Offering access to group space, custom tours, and exclusive benefits differentiates travel advisors from online booking sites. Escorted tours and packages help foster ongoing relationships between advisors and travelers, leading to loyal clients. Switzer adds that collaborating with suppliers who manage all components seamlessly saves time and provides a comprehensive view of the client's entire experience.

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