How Group Travel Has Evolved Over The Past Decade
What new travel trends are changing group travel in 2018 and beyond?
Group travel is changing quickly. There are many new trends in this type of travel that weren’t on the scene a decade ago. The group travel industry is one that continues to thrive and adapt to new ideas and demands.
Group travel is diverse. There are no two groups the same, and each has their own unique travel needs and desires. This is why many group travel experiences are still booked via travel agents rather than online. Many groups want a knowledgeable agent to help them put together a customized trip based on their complicated itinerary and requirements.
Let’s take a look at some of the trends in group travel that have gained popularity over the last decade
Multi-Generational Family Vacations
More families than ever before are planning multi-generational group family vacations. These may be to conventional destinations like Disney World or popular cruises, but they can also include unusual adventures such as rainforest trekking and group bike tours.
These types of trips are a great way for a family to bond. However, they can be complicated to plan as travelers of different ages have a wide range of different requirements and preferences.
Cruises are a popular option for family trips, as there are many different options for activities on one ship to keep everyone happy. Cruising has changed a lot in the last decade – ships have become like floating cities. They include amenities like rock-climbing walls, cinemas, water slides, ice rinks and much more. While cruises used to be a vacation style of the upper class, there are many cruises these days that offer great value and convenience.
All Inclusive Group Tourism
All inclusive group tourism is all the rage at the moment. The advantage of this type of travel is that it makes the travel experience easier. There’s no need to make decisions about where to eat, what activities to do, etc.
This can make group travel much simpler, as groups don’t have to make a lot of small decisions. They can simply sit back and enjoy each other’s company while partaking in the group travel experience. One of the advantages of this is that many all-inclusive resorts will offer discounts and special rates for group bookings. Booking with a travel agent can help groups to find these types of deals and gain an advantage when booking all-inclusive travel.
Health and Wellness Group Travel
One of the hottest trends in group travel is the idea of health and wellness travel. Guests want to take vacations that not only allow them to relax but also revitalize them.
Some are travelers who already maintain a high level of fitness. Others are just beginning on their fitness journey and need an inspirational start.
According to Global Wellness Institute statistics, in the last few years the wellness tourism scene has been one of the fastest developing sectors of the travel market. Between 2013-2015 it grew 10.6%, to a market of $3.73 trillion. These types of trips often include walking, running, yoga, biking, surfing, hiking, kayaking and other activities. They also might feature healing spa activities, healthy food and cooking classes and plenty of quiet time for rest, reading and relaxation.
A group of friends might book one of these health and wellness retreats as a way to heal, unwind and connect with each other. Or, they could also be places for team-building within groups of coworkers – as workplaces are starting to recognize the boost in productivity that is linked to physical and mental wellbeing.
Less Formal Corporate Events
In the past with corporate group travel, there was a clear separation between work and play. Corporate events were always extremely formal. Employees were expected to dress and act a certain way while socializing for work, and etiquette guidelines and formalities were largely upheld.
These days, however, the work culture is becoming more casual and laid back. Formal lunches and dinners are not as common and in many cases. They are being replaced by barbecues, outdoor meetings and other less formal events.
This relaxation of formalities also reflects in the venues that are chosen for corporate group travel and business meetings. Many corporate groups are now using historic buildings, gardens and even boats rather than the traditional meeting room.
High End Group Travel Vacation Homes
According to this article in Steamboat Magazine, there is a developing niche in the ski vacation industry for high end group travel. According to Moving Mountains, a luxury lodging specialist in Colorado, there has been a steady increase in bookings for large groups who are seeking a larger than average vacation home with high end amenities. These groups include multiple couples traveling together, corporate retreats and large family groups.
These type of groups are searching for a vacation home that is large enough to accommodate 20-30 people. This is fueling a desire for “grande” properties that have up to 10 bedrooms and enough space and flexibility for such a large group.
These luxurious mega-vacation homes have top notch amenities such as fireplaces, gourmet kitchens, swimming pools, hot tubs, covered decks and more. Often, the homes even come with catered package services, which include meals, lodging and transportation. Guests can enjoy more vacation time and a better experience without having to worry about shopping, cooking and cleaning.
The Sharing Economy
Another huge change that has taken place in group travel over the past decade is the rise of the sharing economy. These days services such as AirBnB and Uber are allowing traveling groups to hire transport and book accommodation from other individuals rather than the conventional style of hotels and taxis.
The sharing economy is predicted to continue to influence group travel. According to a 2016 Goldman Sachs study, 60% of travelers who have experienced AirBnBs would prefer using this type of accommodation over traditional hotels in the future. This does not come as a surprise since peer-to-peer services usually offer a better quality experience at a more affordable price. They also allow services to be more personal and customized to the traveler’s needs.
What will the future of group travel bring over the next decade? It’s hard to say, but this much is clear: as the needs and interests of travelers change the industry will continue to innovate.
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