As many are aware, tourism is an economic engine. In 2018, travel generated $2.5 trillion for the U.S. economy, supporting 15.7 million American jobs.
There are a lot of triggers that affect the economy when we travel. Most people realize that “heads in beds” means money for the local economy. When people stay in hotels, they pay several taxes. In addition to state and federal taxes, there is most often a bed tax. This is a county tax where those dollars go directly to the community. There are many more economic factors that go beyond collecting tax dollars. When we travel, we are literally pumping money into the local economy. We eat at local restaurants, buy gas for our vehicles, shop at local stores, buy tickets for local events, and pay admission fees to attractions and cultural institutions, just to name a few. In this way, every single visitor brings an opportunity for economic impact.
When there’s an entire group travelling together, the financial stimulus multiplies dramatically. Group travel generates as many as 1.4 million jobs in communities across the United States, paying over $62 billion in wages and benefits.
In addition to a larger amount of spending at one time, group travel can often provide more efficiencies for the places they visit. The group tour business is growing and thriving and here are seven ways group travel benefits destinations and attractions.
Group menus mean there is no need to make individual meals. Often, group menus provide a few different options, or maybe a buffet limiting the time and cost of creating several different meals to be served at the same time. The seating for a group is also different. A group will arrive and depart at the same time, leaving opportunity for more open tables throughout the day at a restaurant, rather than a few people sitting at tables and limiting the table space for more patrons.
2. Guided Tours
One group of 30-50 people brings in more admission fees at one time, and a tour guide is usually needed. The guide will be paid regardless if they have a couple of people or a group – but the attraction reaps the benefit of more people entering at one time.
It is easier to fill seats in a theater with a group of people, instead of working to fill the seats just a few at a time. Bulk ticket sales in advance of a show is beneficial to the groups, who may get a small discount, and the theater, who knows more seats will be filled.
4. Instructed Experiences
Similar to tour guides, an instructor is needed for guided experiences, i.e. a chef for a cooking class, or an artist for a painting class. Whether it’s a few people or a group, the class will take place. But the amount of money a group brings is much higher than individuals signing up.
5. Small business
Of course, there is a cost to keeping a business open. One group can cover an entire day’s (or more) operating expense for a small retailer, leaving the other sales of the day going straight to profit.
It’s easier to have a group fill many rooms at once versus selling rooms one at a time. The group may receive a small discount for a bulk booking, while the hotel is secure in knowing it has the income to cover staff and expenses, in what may usually be a slower time (such as the middle of the week).
7. Economies of scale
In many cases, group travel is more affordable as things are bought in bulk and often will be discounted, so the cost per person is less than it would be travelling individually. This gives the traveler a discount to experiences they may not otherwise be able to have, and brings money into the destination.
The bottom line is group travel is a great way to increase foot traffic to businesses, and tax dollars to local communities, while providing a cost-effective way to travel and have unique experiences. The bus is leaving – don’t miss it!