Comment: Myths about group travel – and how to debunk them
Help your clients overcome any negative misconceptions they might have by debunking these seven common myths, says Abercrombie & Kent’s sales manager Rachel Healey.
The myth: Group tours are for older people
The truth: The cliché is that group travel involves pensioners piling on to coaches to travel around together. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Group tours appeal to a wide segment of the market. Most tour operators are designing itineraries that are innovative, exciting and a big draw for all ages. Try 4x4 ice-driving group tours in Iceland or family group trips to places like Kenya and Costa Rica.
Themyth: Group tours are too big, who wants to travel with 50 others
The truth: Group tours don’t have to be that big. Many tour operators prefer to limit group sizes so you can be taken off the beaten track – to sites usually closed to large groups. This also means guests can stay in smaller, boutique properties that can’t accommodate large groups.
The myth: I don’t want to eat all my meals as a group
The truth: Your client wants to go on a group holiday but they’re nervous about having no alone time. Happily, if you chose the right tour operator for your client, this won’t be case. Tour operators understand your clients concerns and will deliberately schedule unplanned meals, so that folk can choose what they’d like to do – disappear off to characterful local restaurants or indulge in room service.
The myth: There’s no time to explore if you’re in a group
The truth: All group tours must have a schedule, but a good tour operator who knows what they’re doing will plan sufficient time at a destination so that clients can be shown around by their guide, hear all the insights of a professional who undoubtedly has unparalleled insights to share, as well as plenty of time to explore, absorb and reflection on wherever or whatever your client happens to be experiencing. Moreover, if this concerns your client, look for tours that contain that oft-used phrase, “time at leisure”. It’s no joke though, people need time alone and mornings or afternoons at leisure will give them just that.
The myth: The other passengers and I won’t be on the same wavelength
The truth: On themed group trips, like A&K’s holiday to Mongolia’s Golden Eagle Festival or our Journey through Persia for example, you can be sure you’ll be travelling with like-minded people who will share your tastes and passions. If you’re heading to a destination for a reason, other travellers are likely to be just as passionate about you for learning about its culture. Lasting friendships are sure to be made.
The myth: I don’t want to follow a guide holding an umbrella around a site
The truth: We’ve all seen a huge group scurrying around a site following a tour guide, who’s holding an umbrella aloft in the air. On modern group tours run by reputable and forward-thinking tour operators, that image just doesn’t reflect the reality.
The myth: Group tours aren’t adventurous or authentic enough
The truth: A common critique is that groups follow the standard trail, that they never go off-the-beaten track. Definitely not the case – operators are offering small group tours to locations as varied as Iran, Sudan, Colombia, Mongolia and inside the Arctic Circle