Whether the economy is taking its toll on your business or you’re just looking to save some extra cash, these tips are great for any group travel planner on a budget.
Things just aren’t the same as they were ten years ago. People have money problems, and one of the first activities to get the axe is travel. You may find a lot of your usual clients are taking fewer trips, or skipping this year’s travel plans altogether. But as tour operators, you need clients to keep business going. So what can you do? Here are six tactics to help cut costs and hang on to your clientele.
1. Shorten Trips
Instead of offering 10 or 12 day tours, focus on week long– or even one- to three-day– trips. Remember the most important part of group travel: the camaraderie. You don’t want to lose this. Also look for closer destinations. Travel is a major part of the cost, and two hours on a bus is cheaper than two hours on a plane.
2. Consider Basic and Premier Packages
In order to cut costs, strip out some of the unnecessary features like booking hotel suites or fine dining in the basic package to give it a more appealing price. If you don’t want to lose these features, offer a premier package at a higher rate as an option. Also, some of the daily excursions can be included in the basic package, while others can be optional so those who don’t wish to spend the extra money don’t have to.
3. Stay in One Place
A lot of trips span a wide portion of the region traveled to. But staying in one location can help cut those extra travel costs. Choosing a location with a lot to do in a concentrated area gives travelers the freedom to explore the area themselves during down time (without having to worry about missing the bus in the morning). Also, you can negotiate for better hotel rates since you will be staying in one place for the duration of the trip.
4. Get Creative When Traveling Abroad
European countries are becoming more and more expensive to visit, especially those that use the Euro. Consider traveling to other countries where the exchange rate won’t blow you away. Latin America and Asia are great alternatives. They also will move people outside their comfort zone to try new things.
5. Use a Wholesaler
True, you lose some of the control you have over your trip, along with the exclusivity of your group. But if your group starts to shrink, you can still take them on the trip. This way you won’t have to cancel the entire trip. Also you may pick up a few new ideas along the way to use for future trips.
6. Lodge in a New Style
Hotels and resorts are not the end-all be-all of accommodations. University dormitories, short-term apartments and rustic cabins make for cheaper alternatives. Cabins allow your group to have their own fun when the day is done, and who wouldn’t want to relive their college days in a dorm?
Don’t be afraid to try new things in this economic crunch. Keep the travel alive anyway you can. This way your clients will still be there when the economy bounces back. Who knows? It may turn out to be your most successful trip yet.