What’s the Optimal Tour Group Size? (Hint: Think Small)

by | Apr 17, 2019

It’s a tough question with no one-size-fits-all answer for every tour operator: what is the optimal tour group size? But when it comes to travelers, one thing is very clear: more of them aspire to take tours with smaller group sizes.

U.S. tour takers profess a strong desire for smaller, more intimate tour experiences in the future. More than four in five say they would prefer to take a private tour, or a small group tour with 10 or fewer people (see Figure). It does not matter what size tour the traveler took on a previous trip. While more than half of tour takers previously took a large group tour, only 17% say they prefer a larger group tour in the future.

This extraordinary difference between the aspirations and actions of travelers implies a significant gap between what travelers want and what they actually get or book. There are several factors underlying this mismatch: two of the most prominent are lack of small group tour availability and higher price points of private and small group experiences.

The contraction in what tour takers do vs. what they aspire to do suggests a significant opportunity for the day tour operator industry. More travelers want smaller group sizes, and the industry is not yet there to meet that demand—either with sufficient supply or at the right price points. This can only be good news for the many rising companies offering intimate, small-group tour experiences.

The “Arival Guide to The Future of Touring”, produced by Arival in partnership with Context Travel, takes a look at the state of tours and touring from the traveler’s point of view. The guide, based on a survey fielded to 1,000 U.S. travelers, examines the role of tours in travel, what travelers truly want from a tour, and where our industry stands in meeting those expectations.

Please enter your information below to download your complimentary copy of The Arival Guide to The Future of Touring to delve into the trends that are changing traveler expectations for the tour experience — and what it means to the future of your business.

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