For this installment of innOVATIONS, I am pleased to bring you the thoughts of Chris Harrower, Group Sales blogger extraordinaire. I asked him for his thoughts on new ways of doing things in the field of Group Sales.

New ways of doing things? We’ve all be talking about that for years now, looking for the “next big thing” in group travel. If you ask 20 “seasoned pro”‘s, you’d get 21 different answers.

Some people swear by experiential tourism (go and DO, not just go and see).

Others say mutil-option itineraries are the mythical “wave of the future”. Instead of everyone going in lockstep to see an attraction, they get a menu. After chosing what they want to do, 10 may go to a show, 12 may go shopping, 8 want to play golf, and the rest are just going to chill at the hotel pool. It means more work for the Operator and local Receptive, but if it means more people on the coach, it’s worth the work.

To be honest from my (slightly skewed) point of view, I think that this is just another cycle, and as the “Boomer” generation continues to age, they will start getting on the coaches that they have thus far resisted. If you combine escalating gas prices with increasing environmental awareness, traveling by Motorcoach is going to become more of a viable option, especially with some of the new coaches in the pipeline! The new buses that New World Tours has put on the road are nothing short of amazing, and will help to drive the Boomers our way. Large flat screen monitors, each playing a separate program; satellite TV and radio; computer projection and more adds up to a head-turning package that everyone I know that has seen it has said “I’d love to travel on one of these!”.

It means a huge investment at a time when most companies are cutting back…but visionaries like Dave Bolen will step up, do what must be done, and help lead us into the next generation. We, as suppliers, need to do everything we can to help support, encourage, and even endorse these Operators. If they succeed, and others start following in their footsteps, then we’re back on track, and the Group industry as a whole succeeds.

Be sure to check out Chris’ blog at:

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