When we speak to our community of group travel organizers, or “Group Leaders” as we call them, we find that the common theme is the challenge of getting every detail right. Our clients and community really value the customer experience. They know that people can go elsewhere to just book travel, they choose to travel with them because they offer a unique experience.
So what does it take to stand apart and deliver that unique travel experience? Planning and attention to detail!
With so much choice out there, personal touches make all the difference. Here’s a few things our Group Travel Organizers like to do:
1. Require phone number on registration
Collecting their number on registration allows you to call the potential client within 24 hours of registration to answer any questions and really paint a picture of what the trip will be like.
About 25% of our clients use this feature and build it into their YouLi workflow.
2. Implement an application process
This usually involves a bit more process and a clear outline of the requirements to join the program. But this also allows you to create a sense of value that makes your trip more desirable than another, since they have to earn it.
3. Invite the right people
However you find or screen them, being sure the group will gel and you’ve got the right personalities for the type of trip your planning. Obviously if you’re doing a women-only retreat, that makes it a bit easier to segment.
Sometimes we think our trips are “for everyone” when really we want people who are obsessed with food or love to walk all day. Be honest with yourself about who would really enjoy the program you’ve put together and then don’t be afraid to say no to the wrong travelers.
4. Ensure they’ve done their homework
Every YouLi client takes advantage of our Task Management module. Instead of sending a FAQ or PDF no one reads, set up a sequence of essential tasks that means your travelers are prepared for the experience you’ve prepared.
That could be requiring a waiver form. It should mean requiring travel insurance is purchased. It often means some type of training for adventure tours. Don’t just trust that people will plan as much as you have, that’s your job!!
5. Make a detailed itinerary
Even if you don’t share it all with your travelers up front, be sure you’ve got it mapped out in your version. YouLi allows you to create a version of the itinerary just for the leader that includes all the gory details you need to ensure a smooth ride. If you like, you can expose it to your travelers at the right time before or during the trip. Just use the visibility feature on any item to control who sees it and change at any time.
In our recent profile on Dr. Fiona Hill, a long time Group Travel Organizer, she shared a few words of wisdom:
“Visualize every single day, every step of the day. From breakfast to bedtime. That means thinking about what could go wrong as much as what will give joy. Because when your planning is rigorous, the doing is easy. You can arrive and let it go, putting all your focus on the comfort and well being of your group, and trust your well-briefed in-country colleagues (local tour operator) to smooth the path before you.Dr. Fiona Hill – Almanar Consulting – Cultural and Professional Trips
We couldn’t have said it better! Read more about Fiona and her incredible history delivering transformational experiences in the middle east and beyond.