Groups Plan to Travel Again

A recent news article from The Group Travel Leader, posted May 27, 2020, shares interesting and hopeful data about how groups are still planning to travel in 2020. We've highlighted a few key points, but if you're interested in reading the full article, click here.

Groups Plan to Travel Again in 2020

Most travel planners expect to resume operating group trips in 2020, a new survey by The Group Travel Leader finds, and most travel industry organizations believe they will be ready to welcome groups to their destinations by late summer or early fall.

The survey was completed the week before Memorial Day by about 80 travel planners and more than 65 travel industry organizations.

The survey asked group travel planners, “When do you expect to begin taking groups on trips again?” Just over half of respondents said they expect to resume traveling in the summer or early fall: 19% said they plan to travel in July or August, and 34% said they expect to take trips in September or October.

Another 20% of travel planners said they plan to travel in November or December, which brings the total of groups planning to travel in 2020 to 73%. Only 27% said they didn’t expect to begin traveling again until 2021.

“I’ve maintained all along that the travel industry as a whole will be much more resilient than many observers have projected,” said Mac Lacy, president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader. “So, too, will the group travel industry. We’re all familiar with the term ‘early adopters.’ We will see a similar dynamic take hold in the coming months for travel in general and for group travel. Our ‘early adopters’ will be back on group trips much sooner than some others will. I think these responses reflect that.”

The survey asked a similar question of travel industry professionals at destination marketing organizations (DMOs), attractions and other tourism supplier organizations. When asked “When do you expect your destination to be ready to welcome groups again?” 87% of respondents said they would be ready in summer or early fall: 70% answered that they could host groups in July or August, and an additional 17% said they would be ready in September or October.

Data Reveal Different Perspectives

Though the overall survey results paint an optimistic picture for the return of group travel in 2020, variations in the data reveal differences in perspective among various constituencies in the tourism community.

“These results reveal that DMOs have their work cut out for them,” said Brian Jewell, VP and executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. “Though destination representatives are confident that they will soon be able to accommodate groups, they need to do much more work to communicate that confidence to travel planners and consumers. The onus is on DMOs and their local partners to demonstrate the health and safety measures they have implemented and make travelers feel comfortable venturing out to their destinations.”