Summer 2021: The Season of Small Groups

The CEO of Eating Europe is preparing for Arival’s Spring into Summer Forum. He tells us why 2021 will be hard work, but better than 2020.

Reading Time: 2 minute 44 seconds
  • Small group tours will return this year
  • Approach summer 2021 as if it’s low season
  • Assess whether tours can work with low numbers
  • Virtual tours are here to stay for travelers and corporates

As we head towards this year’s season, operators have many questions about preparing and reopening. Arival’s Spring into Summer Forum aims to answer as many of those as possible. Kenny Dunn, CEO of Eating Europe, will host a roundtable on what food tours should consider as they get ready. 

“All of us in travel are thinking, when are things gonna be open?” Dunn says. “What’s going to be different? It will be that kind of more general question that all tour operators are considering, but specifically around culinary tours.”

Kenny Dunn, CEO of Eating Europe

Dunn founded Eating Europe as Eating Italy in 2011. Originally from Philadelphia, he’d fallen in love with European food and introduced many of his friends and family to his favorite restaurants in Rome. This soon grew into a full-fledged tour.

Why Become an Arival Insider Pro Access Member?

20% discount on Arival In-person events

Access to the Arival Research Library including new research and reports

Free access to all Arival 360 Online events

Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring our industry’s thought leaders and instructional sessions to grow your business.

Free consulting seminar on optimizing Google’s Things to Do

More …

Sign Up

Just a few years later, the operation had expanded to four cities. By the time the pandemic hit, Eating Europe was showing guests the culinary delights of 10 locations. The company owns and operates all of its own tours and works with larger operators and cruise lines.

Private groups won’t overtake small group tours.

Smaller group sizes are one way operators are implementing safety measures to protect staff and guests and make skittish guests feel more comfortable. However, food tours tend towards small groups already. Dunn expects them to get smaller still but not to see a rise in private tours. “I think the overall demand is going to go down,” he says. “Nobody’s expecting a full rebound of travel this year, not even close.”

“Even though last summer we saw everyone wanted to do everything privately, my belief is the combination of time, vaccinations, and just people being more habitual as to what this means. I think people will be more comfortable returning to a small group format.”

While Dunn expects this year to be better than last, Eating Europe is approaching spring and summer as if it’s the low season. They know that they need to be efficient with how they manage their tours and staff.

“It’s going to be more challenging,” Dunn says. “We’re having to work a lot harder to maintain higher occupancy by managing openings and your availability. During the high season, you can open up everything, knowing that there’s enough demand to fill everything up.”

One tip that Dunn would give other operators readying themselves to accept guests would be to carry out an assessment of their tours based on only a handful of travelers taking them. “How does that work commercially? Are you able to generate enough income?” he asks.

“If not, what are some creative things you can do that can allow you to ride out what’s going to be a depressed market while still being able to generate enough income.”

Virtual tours are here to stay.

Last year, as the scale of the pandemic became apparent, Eating Europe pivoted to virtual tours. This helped the company stay in touch with its customers and has generated some revenue. Dunn can see two ways that virtual tours may evolve.

They will become part of the post-holiday experience for leisure travelers and a way for operators to maintain a connection. Dunn says: “I think when you come home, if you had a good experience with the tour operator and they were to offer you some kind of continued exposure, I think there’s going to be a receptiveness.”

Virtual tours will have their longest lifespan when targeted at business. Home office may be a permanent change in the way we work, and firms will still want their staff to gel. “With corporates, you’re still going to see them looking for ways to have events and team buildings,” Dunn says.

The Arival Spring into Summer Forum will be held online on 4–5 May. Two half-days of expert talks, workshops, panels, and intimate networking will uncover the big themes defining the all-important summer season, from traveler demand and expectations to the role of last-minute, domestic travel, and more.

Research on the outlook, trends, and traveler intent for the most important season in years will also be presented on Tuesday and Wednesday. Many thanks to Arival’s Global Partners, event sponsors,  and all of our speakers, without whom Spring into Summer wouldn’t be possible.

Arival Insider Pro Access members may register for free. Simply log-in at arival.travel, and you can register for the forum right from your dashboard. 

Tickets for the Spring into Summer two-day event start at $39 for non-members. Or become a Pro Access member to get easy access to all of the Arival Accel series of virtual events and premium research for a full year, starting at just $179. Click here to find out more.

If you would like to attend, but your business remains in financial distress, you are welcome to apply for a scholarship here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Trending

already a member?

Lost your password?

NEED TO REGISTER?

Become an Arival Insider
THE ARIVAL INSIDER PRO ACCESS MEMBERSHIP; YOU GET ALL THIS TO HELP YOU ADVANCE YOUR BUSINESS.

Included in Free Membership

Included in Arival Pro Membership

The Arival on-demand video library archive
Access to the entire library of over 150 video sessions and webinars

Arival.guides
Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021.

Arival.travel articles
Topical articles about marketing, tech, operator business and operator stories in all areas of tours, activities & attractions & experiences

Job board access
Find a job from our regular listings, post a resume to the talent network and learn strategies from the job resources articles

New webinars
Helpful, instructional sessions covering subjects such as Mastering Facebook Ads, Grow Your Business and How To Work With OTAs — topics to help advance your business.

Discounts on all Arival in-person events
20% Discount on all Arival in-person events (save up to $300)* based on business type

Arival ProShield – Insurance program
Access to tailored insurance solutions by Granite Insurance is available exclusively for Arival Insider Pro Access Members. Insider Pro Access Members also have access to a suite of resources from Granite Insurance including templates, forms and other informative documents.

Insiders Pro Access member exclusive webinars
Paid membership-only webinars to deepen your understanding of important industry topics.

Job postings & talent directory
Post jobs & connect with candidates most applicable to your business.

Private roundtables to connect, learn and engage
Small, focused and intimate discussions exclusive to Arival Insider Pro Access members.

Full access to Arival’s library of in-depth reports
Up to date, deep analysis of tourism topics ranging from Self-guided Tours to Sales & Distribution Trends and Outlooks, based on the data that defines the industry.

The latest on-demand videos
Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring hot topics in tours, activities & attractions

Insider discounts in digital marketing, tech, e-learning, and more
Save money on additional tools, services and learnings you need to run your business. Exclusive to paid members.

Membership Overview
ARIVAL CODE OF CONDUCT​
CONFERENCES AND COMMUNITY SPACES​

At Arival, we believe travel can make the world a better place. Our mission is to establish and inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies in the In-destination Industry by providing opportunities to gain insight, share knowledge and build connections. To make it possible for true collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea exchange to thrive, we are committed to facilitating a welcoming and respectful community for all. This Conference Code of Conduct shares our community expectations and applies to all attendees, employees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and other participants at Arival- produced and sponsored events. We empower all participants in our community to actively engage in creating a friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.

Arival’s core values include the following, and create an expectation for conduct at our events and in online community spaces:

We demonstrate a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
We value integrity and strive to consistently interact with others in ways that are authentic, ethical, and fair.
We are dedicated to transparency, committing to clear, open and honest communication.
We actively pursue and advocate for inclusion, diversity and representation of varying cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ideas

Arival welcomes people from all cultural backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Accordingly, participants must refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, or intimidating behavior or materials that would interfere with others’ experience and participation in our community.

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or have any other concerns, notify an Arival staff member as soon as possible.

Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Arival reserves the right to refuse entry to or remove any party from any event or community space at any time when participation or behavior create a disruption or hinder the event or enjoyment of the event by other participants. All determinations are at the sole discretion of Arival, and the decision of the Arival team will be final. Severe breaches of this Conference Code of Conduct may result in disqualification from participating in future events. Individuals expelled due to violating this Conference Code of Conduct will not be eligible for a refund or other consolation.

If you have questions regarding this Conference Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us at [email protected].