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Tauck's Small Group Departures GrowingApril 10, 2012 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Tauck is reporting strong growth in the small group departures it offers on selected itineraries. Over the past several years, these special departures with an average of 20-24 guests (vs. 38-40 on regular departures of the same Tauck journeys) have been enjoying incredible growth while earning high marks from Tauck customers, Tauck says.
“Over the past three years we’ve dramatically boosted the number of small group departures we’ve offered, and our guests have responded,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar. “On average, in each of the past three years we’ve seen our small group bookings increase by more than 40 percent over the prior year. Our small groups bookings are growing faster than any destination or region, or any other segment of our business.”
Tauck says it has been increasing its small group business by adding additional dates to itineraries where it had already featured the small groups option, and by expanding the number of different Tauck trips on which small group departures are offered.
For 2012, the company will operate over 230 small group departures spread among 46 different Tauck itineraries worldwide.
Not only are small groups departures enjoying particularly rapid growth, their bookings are also trending slightly ahead of Tauck’s regular itineraries, the company reports. What’s more, the small group trips are helping bring new customers into the Tauck fold, as they average a higher percentage of first-time Tauck guests than the company’s standard departures.
Tauck also reports high guest satisfaction levels. Tauck says the company has built its business through satisfied customers and strong repeat business, so it measures and analyzes guest satisfaction metrics very carefully. In the three key metrics Tauck tracks (value, likelihood to travel with Tauck again, and overall experience), guests are consistently scoring the small group departures at or above the high marks already earned by regular departures of the same itineraries.
According to Mahar, this good news for Tauck is also good news for the company’s travel agents. Because small group bookings command a higher price (approximately 15 percent higher on average), they also generate higher commissions for the agents who book them.
Along with the special departures featured on selected Tauck itineraries, the company reports it is also serving the small group market with its collection of Culturious journeys. Launched in 2009, the Culturious trips feature smaller group sizes on every departure (averaging 16-20 travelers).
The Culturious itineraries also provide an immersive, in-depth experience within a focused geographic area (such as Tuscany or Provence), and feature, active, hands-on components ranging from cycling and hiking to cooking classes, avoiding to Tauck.