Written By: Tom Ogg
Selecting group travel as your niche can be a very rewarding and profitable choice as long as you maintain your focus on the kinds of groups that you will be selling. The most successful travel professionals selling groups tend to stay in a very narrow niche that they are experts in.
The winning strategy is to identify your specific niche and then develop a unique value proposition that enhances the marketability of selling groups that you promote. In the last group chat we discussed “Developing a Group Travel Concept.”
Here is a link to that chat and you should really read this chat before today’s. http://hbtanetwork.ning.com/group/chat-archives/page/evolving-a-group-travel-concept.
Suffice it to say that just calling yourself a “Group Travel Specialist” and advertising that you can put groups together without a valid UVP will likely fail as responding to various types of groups requests will create an operational nightmare for most agents.
We always hear the term “Affinity Group” But, what does it mean?
Affinity Group – “Any Group that shares common interests and / or purpose”
So the trick is to identify what kind of affinity group that you are going to market to.
The best affinity group to focus on is one that you have personal knowledge of and understand the needs, desires and expectations of the group members. The more expert you are on the specific affinity, the more likely that your group effort will succeed.
While future “Selling Groups” chats will deal with Establishing a Viable Business Plan, Group Costing and Packaging and other aspects of selling group travel, the premise of today’s chat is to identify specific group travel opportunities and how to find Pied Pipers.
The optimum way to create a successful and profitable group business is to eliminate as much of the operational function as possible while creating unique group travel experiences for a specific niche. This will reduce your task to one of marketing, rather than operations.
Selling the exact same group itinerary 12 times per year is certainly going to be easier than planning 12 different itineraries per year. As long as the specific affinity that you have selected has enough potential contacts for pied pipers to approach, it will work very well.
Using Pied Pipers (Group Organizers) is one way to move a lot of groups. It reduces the task from operations to marketing. In order to move 12 groups a year, you only need to find 12 different pied pipers who take the responsibility for marketing the group to their contacts.
Managing 12 pied pipers who are selling the exact same itinerary over 12 different departure dates is what you want to accomplish. This dramatically reduces the stress from creating an operational crisis.
So for the purpose of this chat let’s assume that your business plan consists of packaging 12 groups per year, all with the exact same itinerary and pricing and that you have the knowledge in the specific niche to package something that will be of interest to pied pipers and group members.
We will go through the various kinds of groups by the group category first and then specific groups opportunities within the category.
First comes Adventure Travel Groups
- Fishing – Tackle Shops
- Mountain Climbing – Mountain Gear Shops
- Skiing – Ski Shops
- SCUBA – Dive Shops
- Surfing – Surf Shops
- SUP – SUP Shops
- Hunting – Gun Shops
- Photo Safaris – Camera Stores
Using the cruise ship as simply a mode off transportation and building value added experiences either on board the ship, or shore side is an excellent way to focus on specific niche cruise groups
- SCUBA groups
More Group Travel Options:
- Destination Weddings / Romance Groups
- All-Inclusive Resorts
- Specific Destinations (Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta, etc.)
- In Bound Destination Weddings
- Escorted Groups (Wholesale and Direct)
- Motor coach
- Multi lingual
- Family Groups
- Multi Generational
- Life Celebrations
- Meetings and Conventions
- In Bound
- Religious Groups
- Virtually every niche
- Seniors Groups
- Manufactured Home Parks
- Memorial Cruises
- Special Interest Groups
- Garden Tours
- Bicycle Tours
- Off Roading
- River Rafting
- National Park Groups
- Special Needs
- Wheel Chair / Scooter
- Sight Impaired
- Sports Groups
- Golf Groups
- Tennis Groups
- Team Sports Groups
- Baseball, Football, Basketball, Soccer, etc Team Support Groups
- Runners Events and Races
- Student Groups
- Spring Break
- International Study Groups