When it comes to women and travel, shopping is usually on the agenda. In fact, shopping has become synonymous with girlfriend getaways. But Diana Ford and her team at The Shopping Co. want to offer more than just destination retail therapy—they want to provide a truly memorable experience for tour groups.
“The Shopping Company is called The Shopping Company, but it’s really for real women who want to have a fun girls’ trip,” says Diana Ford, owner of The Shopping Co. “So, there’s always a shopping component, but it’s really about experiences.”
Ford founded the business after she spent years in the incentive-travel industry taking hundreds of groups all over the world. She wanted to make travel accessible to everyone and cater to people in a unique way, and shopping seemed like a great place to start.
“I wanted to focus on women’s trips and girls’ trips because those have always been so fun for me,” Ford says. New York was an obvious choice to include in The Shopping Co.’s travel packages, since it is a place many people want to visit, but are intimidated by, she says. So, she made it more accessible by providing a hassle-free trip—completely organized by her company—to show tour groups the highlights of the city. “And not just the touristy things, I give you the insider look to New York, so you live more like a local,” she says.
Spa and shopping trips in Scottsdale, Arizona, are also popular vacations. This itinerary includes adventures like a hot air balloon ride or a cocktail night at a swanky bar to make it “a whole girls’ trip,” according to Ford. In St. Louis, the company organizes resale bus tours, which have become extremely popular, drawing people from all over the country to participate.
While these tours are the most popular and sell out quickly, Ford is looking to expand The Shopping Co.’s offerings.
“We’re trying to broaden women’s horizons,” she says. This means adding new destinations, such as Dallas, Austin and London. Ford is also looking to add Paris to the agenda, as well as some cities in Italy, such as Milan, Rome and Venice.
“There is more and more demand,” says Ford. “Women now know that they need to take care of themselves.” Many group tour operators have witnessed this trend, too, and are eager to cater to the growing market.
Tour and event planners interested in offering clients a unique experience can look to The Shopping Co. Ford and her team have worked with groups of all sizes, with all budgets. It can organize anything from a luxury, VIP trip in Scottsdale to a budget-friendly New York excursion, showing you can have a memorable experience at any cost.
Ford emphasizes that groups hire companies because they want something different, an insider’s tour. The Shopping Co. gives tour groups not only an exclusive look into some incredible destinations, but also manages every aspect of the trip so guests can have a worry-free vacation they won’t soon forget.
For more information on The Shopping Co., visit shopcotours.com.