When it comes to group travel, size matters, according to Richard Hanson, managing director of TrekAmerica and Grand American Adventures
When I first started working as a tour leader for TrekAmerica in 1995, I immediately fell in love with the free-and-easy, ‘road trip’ style of travel.
Traveling in small groups (max 13 passengers), meant that we were free to make plenty of little detours and unscheduled stops along the way. Whether that was pulling over for a bear or a beautiful sunset, or pulling into a diner for a break and a bite to eat, it really was more like travelling with new groups of friends than an organized tour.
In fact, that small group experience has been the key to TrekAmerica’s success since the company’s beginnings in 1972.
Today, both TrekAmerica and sister company Grand American Adventures offer small group tours that stay true to the ethos of the brands. We want to create intimate and individual memories of amazing locations, getting away from the crowds, where busses, planes and trains can’t go.
I’ll admit I’m slightly biased, but I truly believe that when it comes to travelling the Americas, you can’t beat a small group experience. You get all the benefits of travelling with expert tour leaders who know the locations intimately, but with none of the hassle of organising the logistics.
However, small groups adventures aren’t exactly synonymous with the States and your client may not ask for this style of travel by name. It’s often up to agents to explore their needs and make expert recommendations.
So how can you identify if small group travel is right for your client?
Of course, small group travel is the obvious choice for solo travellers. Small groups give travellers the chance to meet other like-minded people who have chosen to explore the same locations or have the same special interests, instantly bonding people and creating friendships from the start.
If your solo traveller client initially asks for a fly-drive holiday, then travelling in a small group can also work out much more cost-effective, once you consider the expense of car hire, fuel and parking, accommodation and national park entry fees along the way.
Joining an organized tour is also a great option for couples and families who want someone else to take on the driving and planning, for a completely stress-free holiday. Travelling as part of a tour also means that if they’re on a camping holiday, all of the equipment is included in the price.
Finally, if your client is looking for something really special, such as staying overnight in a Navajo Hogan, or tracking wolves in Yellowstone with a local guide, this can be incredibly difficult and expensive to organise independently. This is where we can help, with many included activities and experiences packaged into the tour.
I often describe small group tours as the best of both worlds, an ideal middle-ground between fly-drives and coach tours. Perfect for clients looking for a more in-depth experience, with someone else to take care of the driving and logistics.
So, the next time you have a client travelling to the Americas and they’re looking for a stress-free road trip experience, why not consider a small group holiday? Once you’ve sold them one, you’ll have them back again and again for more.
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