The social element truly makes an escorted trip, says Andy Squirrell, managing director of Titan Travel
In recent years, some travel companies – Titan included – have tended to shy away from talking about the group aspect of escorted holidays (perhaps wary of conjuring up images of ‘forced’ friendship and meals en masse).
But during a recent rebrand to celebrate our 40th anniversary, we used the opportunity to sit down and speak to some of our customers about what it is they enjoy about our holidays. And there was one answer that cropped up time and time again: the people.
The social side of an escorted trip is what makes it – and it’s something I really believe should be used more in selling. We can offer some amazing experiences on our tours, but what makes those experiences so special is the fact that they’re shared. Even after the moment has passed, customers will be reliving it with each other, comparing photos and swapping stories.
It’s one of the great benefits of this type of holiday, as one of our team found out first-hand on a recent tour in Italy:
Lynne Isted, creative marketing manager, said: “Having enjoyed an afternoon at leisure in Venice, we spent the evening chatting about where we’d been. It was competitive – who’d seen the most or had the best lunch (or found the best ice-cream). It was easy to invite others into the conversation and by the end things were loud and filled with laughter. It was a great end to a fantastic day.”
Of course, customers all have their own reasons for travelling and are all treated as individuals, but something happens when you share a moment. It’s like going to a football match or gathering together to watch the royal wedding on TV – you feel part of it, part of something.
It makes a holiday new every time, too. Some of our customers have travelled on the same itinerary a dozen or so times – they love the destination, but they also love the fact that they’ll be travelling with new people and making new friends every time. It’s never the same experience.
Where group travel is really coming into its own, though, is for single travellers. We’re finding more and more people are travelling alone nowadays, and for a variety of reasons – they could be divorced or widowed, or simply have different holiday interests to their friends or partner.
You might have customers who are travelling solo for the first time and who may be slightly apprehensive about holidaying alone. An escorted holiday gives them a ready-made group of travel companions – like-minded people to share their experiences with.
So, whether it’s a couple dreaming of a once-in-a-lifetime trip, a first-time solo traveller, or perhaps a group of friends after an adventure, don’t shy away from suggesting the idea of group travel – it might be the very thing that they’re looking for.
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