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The quickest and best way to grow your travel agency business – Groups

Travel Advisors are always looking for new ways to grow their businesses. Their job is centered around learning about their niche to provide the best vacation experiences, providing impeccable customer service, curating awe-inspiring itineraries, and ultimately, finding clients to go on vacation. However, it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

Most clients have a limited number of vacations they can take each year due to work requirements, pre-set days off, family responsibilities, events, appointments, and other occasions. Because of that, the average client will probably only book about 1-2 vacations with your agency each year. Depending on the type of clientele you have and the type of agency you run, this could mean having to find an influx of new clients every single month just to stay in business. What if I told you that there’s an easier way?

One of the most lucrative ways to increase profits, build your database, and create a referral-based travel business is by selling groups!

As a group travel advisor, you have the awesome responsibility of being able to bring friends, family, and/or colleagues together while on vacation. When you sell vacation packages, you’re selling more than just the vacation – you’re selling an experience. You’re giving your clients the opportunity to create memories, both individually and together, that will last a lifetime. You create a pathway for strangers to meet and for long-standing relationships to become even stronger. When you sell groups, you work with more than just 1 or 2 individuals which means you can make a much bigger impact in a shorter amount of time. The goal is to focus on building a relationship with each person, not just the group leader, to develop repeat and referral business, which inevitably leads to more business.




Group Travel is more profitable than individual trips because they involve more people, they tend to take place over longer periods of time, they usually involve multiple components within the itinerary, and they typically include additional amenities or incentives for both the travel advisor and the clients traveling together. When it comes to groups, the sky is the limit – well, usually.

From girls’ getaways and bachelor parties to lavish destination weddings and corporate retreats, Group Travel is found in any facet of the travel industry. Many people are intimidated by Group Travel because there are many moving parts. There are more people involved which could also mean that there is more room for mishaps. However, if you break it down on an individual level, you’ll find out that Group Travel really isn’t all that scary.

Think about it…

You have a new client that wants to go on vacation. They want to hop on a cruise ship or head down to an all-inclusive in the Caribbean. You dive right in, quote the trip – they love it, of course, so now you get them booked. Congratulations!! You’ve got a reservation under your belt. Now, time to move on to the next one. The same process from start to finish, but with a different hotel or cruise ship. So, let’s make this a little easier.

What if you could just duplicate everything you’ve already done for the 1st client over and over again? Wouldn’t that mean that you don’t need to find a new property or cruise line to sell your clients on? Doesn’t that also mean that you can quickly rebuild the exact same itinerary for your next client? That’s it! When you’re dealing with group travel, you’re essentially just booking the same trip over and over. The hardest part is keeping track of your inventory, learning about group contracts, and finding all of those special perks/amenities for creating a group!

Great job!! You’ve started diving into groups. So, again, why are they so profitable?

The reason groups are so lucrative is that you can work with multiple clients at once, sell them on the same trip, and then move on to the next. In the time it takes you to learn about each client, find the perfect itinerary for them, and quote everything out, you could’ve already booked 3-5 rooms for your group. You can also create packages for them to include additional tours, excursions, events, insurance, transfers/transportation, etc., to provide additional options and enhancements to build those amazing memories – all while you are making extra money on the inclusions for the group!




The idea of Group Travel is not a new concept. People have been traveling in groups for decades. However, the way we approach groups has changed quite a bit. In the past, the focus was on making the experience as standardized as possible, including everything from transportation to food, and even hotel/ship accommodations. The easier, the better. Now, people are looking for something more than just a quick getaway – they want an experience that makes them feel like they’re part of something special, even when traveling with a group!

Group Travel is no longer limited to a bunch of seniors sitting on an old, stuffy bus. In fact, you can very easily sell group travel to any age demographic, any travel type or style, any organization or sporting group, and even to a bunch of strangers!

So, what does this mean for you?

It means that there are more ways than ever before to connect with potential clients who are ready to take their next big trip as part of a group. One great way to find new group travelers is to look at existing communities or organizations that come together on their own – like a book club! Book clubs are a great way for readers to connect with one another, discuss their favorite books, and find new titles to read. It helps expand their minds while forming bonds of friendship with people they may not have connected with otherwise. Now, as a travel advisor, you have the opportunity to elevate that relationship and their book club experience by getting them all together on a trip. You could plan a trip around the next book’s location in the world, or maybe just at a resort so the group can binge their next big hit. The possibilities are endless!




No matter who you find to travel in groups, whether it’s family, friends, or total strangers, people enjoy their own individual options. Some of them want a lavish suite while others just want to share an excursion. With so many different opinions and personalities, you will sometimes have to work as a mediator to make sure everything goes off without a hitch (you know, perfectly). You’ll quickly learn that some people prefer to just kick back and relax, some prefer to host lavish parties, others just request to dine together during their trip. Sadly, someone in the group will have their feelings hurt because of the opinions or ideas of someone else. It’s bound to happen. You need to remember that group vacations mean different things to different people.

Whatever your clients decide, it’s your job to ensure that everyone involved within the group enjoys themselves and gets what they expect out of the vacation experience.

Travel Advisors also need to keep in mind that some people have never traveled as a group, so it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. No matter how much everyone likes each other, breaks are always necessary on group vacations. As a travel advisor, you should make sure there is enough downtime in the itinerary for people to break off and take a breather if they need it.




Accompanying your travelers on a group trip is a great way to build a more personalized relationship that you miss by working over the phone or by email. By being with your clients, you are able to interact with each of them in a way that you would otherwise miss out on by just servicing their reservation. You also help build trust and provide peace of mind knowing that they have someone to turn to if they need help while in destination.

Travel advisors have the opportunity, especially when traveling internationally, to provide tips that will enhance their client’s vacation experience. By being there to guide your travelers, you truly portray yourself as the expert while creating an invaluable bond between everyone involved. The truth is most travelers actually prefer to book trips through an agency when they have already had a positive experience with them in the past. Then, as mentioned above, by being there in-person, you can also help prevent things from going wrong or having people get irritated with other guests due to differences within the group.

During these trips, travel advisors are also in a unique position to offer value-added services that make them stand out from other travel agents, keeping them top of mind for future trips. Travel advisors may arrive a day or two in advance to meet with hotel staff, chat with local contacts, and ensure everything is lined up for their group’s arrival. If the hotel/ship allows it, many group travel advisors also try to coordinate a VIP welcome area or a welcome reception so that guests have an exclusive opportunity to get to know each other before embarking on the rest of the trip together.

It’s not just about getting the sale – as always, it’s about articulating your value, building relationships, and creating loyal customers.




If you want to ensure that your clients will continue coming back and utilizing your agency to book future vacations, every journey must be as smooth and stress-free as possible. This can be a difficult task when there are so many moving parts involved with booking a group trip, coordinating everyone’s schedules, and navigating individual personalities, but it doesn’t have to be! The key is to make sure you are doing things right the first time and building your processes for future group vacations as well.

Here are some tips to help:


1. Find the group leader

As the group travel advisor, it’s your job to ensure you’re dealing with the group leader. If the group has multiple group leaders, it’s your job to stay in contact with all of them and explain that decisions for the group will not be made without the group leader(s).

2. Get all the details in advance

Confirm hotels, flights, insurance, car rentals, transfers, and excursions well before the departure date so you don’t have any surprises on the day of arrival.

3. Double-check all documents

Passports, visas, and travel documents should be in order before you send your client’s trip details to each traveler. Did they complete their online check-in? If your client isn’t ready, it can cause problems for you and other travelers prior to or during the trip.

4. Provide itineraries to every traveler

Everyone should understand the major components of the group itinerary. All travelers should be aware of critical pick-up times, events, excursions, etc. during their trip.

5.  Make every traveler feel important

No one wants to feel like a number. With groups, it’s very easy to focus on the group leader or the entire group as a whole, while forgetting the individuals within the group. However, you need to remember that every person booking with you is your client. You should provide exceptional service to each of them. It is also extremely important to communicate with everyone upfront about what they can expect from you along the way.




One of the biggest advantages to coordinating Group Travel is the opportunity for referrals and networking. In many cases, groups are put together with a purpose. That purpose can be anything from a shared hobby to a family reunion or maybe even a work event. Whatever the case, there’s usually a few select people to start rallying the troops. Your job is to stay organized and provide exceptional service to everyone booking with you. Organization is the most important factor when booking groups; the more organized you are, the more organized the itinerary is, the better off everyone will be. Your group leader will begin by marketing the group within their organization or throughout their community of interested travelers, and you’ll start seeing the inquiries come in. As the group builds, some clients may refer other friends to join them as well, causing the group to grow even faster – providing additional amenities, growing your database, and increasing your commission earnings! Many travel advisors can also use group tours to incentivize clients to travel for free based on the number of people they refer.

Working with groups may seem daunting at first, but group travel has so many benefits for travelers and travel advisors. Group tours allow agencies to negotiate discounts, perks, and amenities with hotels and cruise lines, offering group advantages that individual travelers would probably not otherwise qualify for on their own. Travel advisors also use group trips to connect and network with their clients on vacation rather than in their own backyard.



I’ve always said that Groups are the lifeblood of any travel agency. In many cases, groups will come together year after year, and the group tends to get larger and larger as word spreads from the year before. Savvy travel advisors tend to lean on groups to help expand their base of existing clients, widen their network, and increase referrals. Since groups provide benefits to both the travel advisor and the individual travelers, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Despite a few possible challenges, group trips create some of the BEST memories. It may seem difficult at first, but when done right, Group Travel has the potential to grow your travel business exponentially.


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Steven Gould

Steven Gould

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