Your Travel Agency

Group Travel Packaging

Written By: Tom Ogg



Selling group travel requires that you will need to package your group event from the ground up. This is the way that you can accomplish several important things at once.   


Group packaging and costing is something every travel professional should understand. We will focus on group packaging in this article and then on group costing in the next. 


Add Real Value: One of the best reasons for packaging a special group is to add real and unique value. As we have seen, there are numerous niches that would be perfect for a unique group package. Everything from tequila connoisseurs, plumeria collectors, foodies, hula dancers and everything else imaginable offer excellent opportunity to package groups with a completely unique value proposition for group members. 


Lock in Your Profit: By creating a special and unique group movement you can easily lock your profit into the pricing. This is true even if your profit seems much higher than selling groups on a commission basic. In fact, locking your profit into a group’s pricing is the #1 reason to package a special group event. 


Make Your Groups Un-shopable: By packaging unique group events into the group pricing it makes it impossible for a client to shop around with other travel agencies for competitive pricing. And, the more completely unique features that you add, you can not only increase your profit you will also build demand for the overall unique experience. 


Simplify Operations: By creating a unique and focused group travel experience, you can easily recreate the same movement over and over again. By using the same suppliers for the groups on an ongoing basis, the task of packaging groups becomes a fairly easy thing to accomplish.  


As you can easily see the concept of moving special groups is loaded with opportunity for the entrepreneur willing to invest the time and effort to create high value niche group movements that can be marketed to a narrow niche of group members who share the common interest in the niche.  


By packaging the exact same group multiple times, the benefits accrue even faster. Moving niche groups becomes a marketing task, rather than an operational. If each group is going to be marketed by a pied piper, or group organizer it becomes a manageable task to package and then market to pied pipers. 


So let’s take a look at the various components that may be packaged. 


Transportation: Transportation is a critical element of packaging groups. And, it is important to remember that transportation is just as much about your group’s luggage and the group members themselves. Every successful group movement benefits from well planed and executed transportation arrangements. Here are the various types of transportation that may be used in a typical group movement. 


Air: Air is a challenge as there is basically no commission in it for agents, yet it plays a huge part in the success of your group. You are always better off having complete control of the air arrangements for your group. Planning on everything that can go wrong getting to and from a destination will help you  Here are some tips to consider. 


  • Never book air for your group that does not allow time to recover in case of any number of problems like water delays, mechanicals, flight crew problems and so on. 
  • Always arrive the day before embarkation for a cruise group. 
  • Always have your group members verify that their luggage is accounted for. 
  • If your group is coming from all over the U.S. have them arrive at the point of departure the day before and then start the vacation with an event the night before departure. 
  • Always use group specific luggage tags on every checked bag. 


Motor Coach: Most groups will involve some motor coach travel whether used for transfers or sightseeing.. While most coaches will have between 38 to 49 seats, always leave a few seats vacant to accommodate any problems that may arise. Here are some tips on packaging motor coaches. 


  • Always include a city orientation on transfer to the group’s accommodations. This doit only adds valuable inclusions, but since most coaches have minimum rental times, it will not add much to the price. 
  • Always use separate luggage trucks for your group’s luggage. Upon arrival at a destination send the luggage to the group’s accommodations so that the luggage will already be delivered to your group member’s individual rooms. 
  • Always have a “Plan B” in case your motor coach no shows your group, or worse, breaks down. 


Hotels and Resorts: Since the group’s accommodations will be a major part of the movement much attention should be paid to the quality of the accommodations to make sure that they satisfy each and every group member. Here are some tips to consider. 


  • If possible, have your group pre-checked into the property to expedite the arrival process. 
  • Always prepay porterage in and out of the property. 
  • Always have an incentive for the Bell Captain to make sure your group gets priority. 
  • Category rooms are always the best way to go rather than “Run-of-House”. 


Sightseeing: and Special Events: Most niche groups may use both special events and regular sightseeing tours.  The unique value-add created by special events specifically for your niche group members is how your group travel becomes difficult to shop. Here are some tips. 


  • Make your special events really special and unique so that they become the reason that folks will join your groups,
  • Get really creative when planning special events. This might include a unique dining experience, speaker, instruction, adventure or other activity. 
  • Make the special events engaging and memorable and unique to your tours only. 


While there is much more to consider when packaging groups, these elements are ones that you will need to deal with. The trick is to marginalize the aspects of the tour that can be priced and shopped in favor of the unique events that are included and the main reason people will join your groups. 


You can see the advantages of packaging the exact same group movement a number of times. It becomes much easier to operate and reduces the task from packaging to marketing. And, it reduces the task of operations and focuses on managing your group leaders and pied pipers.