Travel for Free by Making Groups

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

Let’s talk about how travel agents can travel for free, and group travel – some of my favorite subjects!

It can be very rewarding to book groups. It sounds impressive, and demonstrates your confidence and experience, which are all very good qualities in a travel agent. But, how much work is involved, and exactly how do you plan a group trip?

To plan a group trip, an agent should choose the destination and date of the trip. The size of the group will help to determine the price.  You’ll also need to decide if airfare will be included (and if so, from what gateway*). Then you’ll need to start promoting, advertising and getting deposits**.

Being the tour leader will allow you to travel for free. Make sure you have a good number of travelers so you can get your trip for free without making the group’s trip too expensive, or they might decide not to travel with you. Be creative – create a theme so people will be drawn to travel with your group.   

As I have mentioned in my previous blogs on group tours, some travelers seem to think of vacation as “no need to take my meds time,” which can make them not-so-pleasant to deal with. There can also be roommate problems, and people who like to complain just because they think they can. If you are very assertive and can deal with people with a big smile no matter what, you will definitely succeed as the tour leader  

* If using one gateway when people come from different cities and states, the travel agent needs to make sure that all connections are done properly, so everyone will be able to meet at the gateway.  Consider bad weather, flight cancellations and delays. Also make sure all participants have travel insurance. Keep in mind that people might blame you for delays and cancellations just because you booked the trip for them, or because you suggested one gateway. This doesn’t mean that it is your fault!  If everyone gets their own flights and meets at the destination, you will only take care of transfers and making sure everyone has travel insurance.

**Deposits, especially for tours that are scheduled 9 months to 1 year ahead can be a challenge. Some people give a deposit, and a few months later find something else, or change their mind, and want their money back. You are already counting on them for the group and have negotiated the price of the group based on that number of participants. Make sure the deposit is for a good amount, and NON-REFUNDABLE. That way, people will not change their minds.

I know many travel agents who make a life and a living by traveling with groups and love every minute of it.

Feel free to pick my brain and ask me questions. I have done many group tours during my years of having a tour company. I loved every single one, and developed many great friendships with participants.


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