If you’re like most people, the past months have made you re-evaluate what’s important.  We’re prioritizing health and safety, experiences, and time together.  That’s especially true when it comes to travel and why small group travel is big right now.

Small group travel is on the rise.  If you plan group travel, this is a trend you’ll want to follow!

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A New Report from Arival

Arival shared some important data for trip planners in a recent report:

  1. The pandemic has accelerated the trend toward smaller groups.
  2. Two in five U.S. tour takers intend to take a tour of 6 or fewer guests.

These are significant takeaways for travel advisors and group trip planners that will affect how they plan trips moving forward.

What’s Causing the Shift?

To better understand how to meet changing traveler needs, we need to understand why there’s been a shift to small group travel.

family reunion

Focus on Family and Friends

Right now, there is a renewed emphasis on relationships and personal connections.  So it makes sense that we want to be together with family and friends when we travel. 

Our travel tribes give us the freedom to explore with the people who share our interests.

Related Reading:  Inspire Your Travel Tribe

Health and Safety

Health and safety protocols and requirements are literally changing daily.  As a result, travelers want to stay as safe as possible by staying in their “bubbles.”   Limiting their travel companions to close friends and family allows them some control.

Travel tribes can explore in smaller groups, travel in vehicles that aren’t transporting masses of people, and avoid big crowds.  These are just a few simple ways to prioritize health and safety while traveling.

small group travel

Meaningful Experiences 

After the past months, it’s not surprising that we are gravitating toward deeply meaningful travel experiences.  More and more of us want to make the most of our time and resources. 

We want to explore new places, immerse ourselves in different cultures, make personal connections, and grow as human beings.  It’s transformational travel that gives us a different perspective on a place, people, or activity. 

And small groups foster a more intimate and personal adventure.

Related Reading:  9 Easy Ways to Market Group Travel


How Can Your Business Capitalize on the Small Group Travel Trend?

Think Boutique!

Boutique travel is tailored for small groups.  It highlights specialized goods and services, unique or private experiences, and luxurious accommodations.

High Adventure

Another small group market gaining traction is adventure travel (especially with Generation Z.)  These “flashpackers” will spend around $3,500 on a trip and $60 a day.  Plan cycling tours of the Pacific coastline vineyards or a trek to Machu Picchu.  It’s all about thrilling, life-changing experiences!

Machu Picchu


Family or Reunion Travel

There’s a big surge in the demand for travel that reunites family and friends.  Focus on marketing trips designed for making memories.

For example, consider a luxury cabin in the Smoky Mountains or a dude ranch in the Rockies.  Perhaps a glitzy getaway in New York’s Hudson Valley or even a kid-friendly retreat in the Ozarks.  Reunion travel is a small group niche on the rise.

Private Experiences

As we continue to think about safe travel, consider planning private experiences for small groups.  Curate travel packages that limit exposure to big crowds and include private excursions, dining, and transportation.

Small Group Travel is Big Right Now – and Moving Forward

Small group travel is big right now and probably here to stay. Travel tribes are planning longer trips and spending more, so make the most of the opportunity to grow your business!

Establish yourself as an expert in small group travel planning.  Offer flexible and customizable itineraries and destination-focused services.  Find your small group niche and up your customer service game.

Remember, small group travel is BIG – and so is your potential business growth!

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