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Group Tour Outlook 2023: Trends for the Upcoming Travel Season

As a tour operator or group tour planner, you've probably been keeping an eye on trends for the upcoming travel season. And, with the current travel season about to start, it’s just about the right time to at least see what the numbers are saying.

This year is exceptionally promising for the travel industry. According to a survey conducted by TravelAge West on 200 travel agents – 50% of the travel operators are highly optimistic for the year 2023 while 36% of the travel operators are somewhat optimistic.

73% of the travel agents surveyed also claimed they have more travel business booked for this year than they did at the same time in the previous two years - which were the years when the tourism industry came to a complete halt because of the pandemic.

As 2023 is moving towards the holiday season, it is clear more and more people are finally taking a break and looking forward to traveling.

Top Travel Destinations for 2023

Europe and the Caribbean are tied at 32% as the top travel destinations for tours and travels. In addition, 77% of the travel operators have predicted there will be more travel to the Europe side in 2023 than any other year.

“Europe has been and mostly likely always will be — a popular place for Americans to visit, so I am not too shocked.” - Chu-Bermudez.

There is a substantial increase in bookings for Europe this year – the total sales have outnumbered by double digitals compared to previous years.

About 49% of the travel operators reported that there is a declining interest in travel to Asia but interestingly, 45% were confident that there will be a comeback in travel to Asia in 2023.

Booking Practices and Travel Spendings As the group tour trends in traveling have taken a spike this year, booking patterns and travel practices for 2023 are also looking more promising than they did in the previous years - with 75% of travel operators reporting that the clients have booked further out in the year as per the TravelAge West survey.

There is also an increase in travel spending – almost half the travel operators (51%) confirmed that the travelers are spending more this year than they did in the previous year.

Group Tour Trends

Another striking change in the travel patterns this year is group travel making a comeback and continuing to grow. Daniel C. Surette, chief sales officer of the Omni Hotels anticipates there will be a major shift in the type of travelers staying at their hotel in 2023 – from solo or couple travelers to group travelers.

While leisure demand might slow a little bit, says Surette, their hotel is anticipating 85% to 90% group business in 2023. This compared to 65% of group business in 2019, is a remarkable shift. It’s safe to say that group travel is trending this year and more travelers are opting to book tour groups for their next trip.

Overall, the group travel outlook 2023 and the coming years is looking positive especially as economic stability is continuing to improve. If 2021 and 2022 were the years where people were more concerned about going on vacation because of health and economic factors, we are looking at 2023 to be the turning point when people decide to strike out and go on holiday.

Here are 3 key findings from group travel outlook 2023:

  • The tourism industry is looking extremely promising – 73% of travel agents confirmed they have more bookings this year.

  • Travelers are spending more on traveling this year – 51% of travel agents reported an increase in travel spending.

  • Group travel is coming back and continuing to grow – Omni hotel anticipates an 85 to 90% group business in 2023.

Group travel companies must go above and beyond to boost their business this year by providing fun, efficient, and safe group travel experience to all their customers. This will result in repeated customers, referrals from satisfied customers, and positive reviews on the social media platforms. Generating more business in the coming years.

See how WolfPack Central can help your group tour company deliver better tour experiences


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