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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How are Tour Operators Dealing with Smaller Group Sizes?

Article link: http://www.ntaonline.com/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=2633&menuID=791#Headline1

During a recent Virtual Conversation with the NTA Chairman (Mark Hoffmann), Yakov Stevens of Tripsetter in Toronto asked how tour operators are dealing with smaller group sizes. BusAislePassengers"We're obviously not doubling our prices," he said. "How are people making up for that difference?"

Mark Hoffmann, the session's host, replied, "In my company, we're basing our profit/loss number on a lower number of people, which raises the hard cost per person," he said, adding that customers are telling him they prefer traveling in a smaller group. Hoffmann then asked how other operators are filling groups, and Larry Larsen of Ed-Ventures in Minnesota replied.

"We encourage partnering. To fill the group, you may have to put two groups together," Larsen said. "There was a time when that didn't fly, because nobody trusted anybody else. But I think we're at a point where we have to trust with other people and work together to keep the price down in order to fill the group."

Larsen said his company sells to many other operators and travel agents, which enables them to create partnerships when he learns that two clients are working on a tour to the same destination. "We try to get them to work together and get an itinerary that works for both of them," he said. "It's reaching out through the home-based agents; we're just starting to do that. That's a good opening to get into partnering as well."

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