- The pandemic has accelerated the trend toward smaller groups
- Two in five U.S. tour takers intend to take a tour of 6 or fewer guests
- Operators should lean into small groups and private experiences
The trend towards small group and private tours has accelerated through the pandemic with 39% of American tour takers saying that they plan to take a tour with no more than three people. This is up from 27% in 2019, according to Today’s Tour Taker, a new report from Arival produced in association with Go City.
Only 15% of tour takers surveyed said that they planned to take a large group tour of 10 or more. In 2019, this was 25%.
Arival surveyed 1,000 U.S. “active travelers” on their travel intentions for the next 12 months. Active travelers are adults (18+) who have taken at least one trip 100 miles from home with an overnight stay since January 2019. They have engaged in a qualified tour, activity or attraction. They have also planned or intend to travel between September 2021 and June 2022.
Arival fielded in the summer of 2021.
Health, Safety & Desire for a Deeper Experience
Concerns over health and safety are one factor behind the shift in smaller groups, but so is a clear interest to have a deeper, more meaningful experience. U.S. tour takers are taking more longer tours, and they are willing to spend more.
Operators, especially those who typically offer tours with larger group sizes, should rethink how their tours are structured to ensure they are able to cater towards the desire for small group travel. This includes assessing costs and pricing so that all tours are profitable. Tour spend is up significantly versus 2019, indicating that travelers are willing to spend for the right experience.
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