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The Changing Dynamics of Group Travel Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the The Changing Dynamics of Group Travel market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Introduction

Until quite recently, group travel was something that polarised consumers. Its advocates recognised its many benefits, while some of those who would not consider taking a guided trip regarded its participants as tourists and those who went it alone more as travellers. Attitudes to group travel – thanks to vast changes in this massive segment of the travel industry – have changed dramatically over the last decade.

Today’s group-travel sector goes far beyond the outdated stereotype of coach tours filled with the over-55s. It incorporates numerous styles of travel and covers myriad destinations. Many people travelling as part of a group today may not even perceive themselves as group travellers. This is particularly true of the growing number of tourists booking small-group or social travel.

It is not only the trips that are diverse but also the motivation driving group travel, the way it is organised and the travellers themselves. A substantial amount of group travel is, for example, frequently interest or activity focused. As a result, it may be instigated by a group leader or group travel organiser (GTO) – either formally or informally – or booked by individuals who want to travel with like-minded companions. Other drivers include celebrations, corporate events, conferences and the desire to catch up with friends and family. Then there is group travel that occurs in order to attend or even participate in a sporting event, other performance-related group travel and group travel to important pilgrimage sites or to work on a volunteer project. Cruising and adventure tourism are also very important and growing niches within this market.

The expansion of the global tourism industry, emerging outbound markets, travel trends and changing attitudes to foreign travel have also helped change the dynamics of group travel. The growing desire to escape the crowds in busy destinations and to learn or discover something new has also brought about significant changes in the way that groups travel. A core component of this is more adventurous destination choices, as well as participation in local activities and events. The immediacy of travel company websites, blogs and social-media posts – that bring a seemingly limitless array of group trips tantalisingly close – have also been instrumental in the changing dynamics of group travel. Powerful Internet technology also means that GTOs can more easily organise many elements of their trips – from transport and accommodation, through to activities and entertainment.

This report looks at the following areas:

  • How has group travel changed over the last decade or so?
  • What factors have contributed to the changing dynamics of group travel?
  • Who travels in groups and where do they go?
  • What do today’s group travellers want from a trip?
  • How might group travel change in future?

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Jessica Kelly, a leading analyst in the Tourism sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The group-travel sector has become very dynamic in recent years, growing and diversifying to include virtually every kind of trip and catering to travellers of all ages and from varied backgrounds. The variation of the group-travel sector has occurred in tandem with socioeconomic change and the expansion of the global tourism industry as a whole, as well as in response to changing travel trends. Jessica Kelly
Senior Tourism Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

    • Data Sources

      • Overview

        • Defining group travel
          • The wider tourism context
            • Tourism growth
              • Figure 1: International tourist arrivals by region, 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2015-18
              • Figure 2: Visitor exports by region, 2013-18
            • Economic change
              • Figure 3: GDP in selected countries, 2011-18
            • Demographic trends
              • Figure 4: World population outlook, 2018-50
              • Figure 5: Mid-year population estimates by major age groups, worldwide, 2018-50
              • Figure 6: European population in selected countries*, by major age groups, 2007 & 2017
            • Solo living
              • Figure 7: Estimated number of one-person households in the UK, 1997-2018
              • Figure 8: Population by marital status in selected EU countries, 2017
            • Changing social structures
              • Some key travel trends
                • Independent travel
                  • Figure 9: Holiday booking behaviour, UK travellers, 2015-18
                • Authentic and shareable experiences
                • The Evolution of Group Travel

                    • Sizing the group-travel market
                      • Figure 10: Group holidays (domestic & overseas), estimated total volume by segment, 2013
                      • Figure 11: Estimated size of UK group-travel market, 2013, 2016 & 2018
                      • Figure 12: companions, 2015-17
                  • Today’s Group Travellers

                      • Generational differences
                        • Nationality
                          • Figure 13: Some of the world’s biggest outbound tourism markets, by expenditure, 2013-18
                        • US groups
                          • Industry insight
                            • UK groups
                              • Chinese groups
                                • Indian groups
                                  • Income/class
                                  • The Groups

                                      • Escorted tours
                                        • Business groups
                                          • Figure 14: Business tourism expenditure, by major regions, 2010-18
                                          • Figure 15: Top 10 countries ranking by number of meetings, 2016
                                          • Figure 16: Top international meeting countries in 2016
                                          • Figure 17: Top 10 cities ranking by number of meetings, 2016
                                          • Figure 18: Top international meeting cities in 2016
                                        • Solo groups
                                          • Multigenerational groups
                                            • Family group travel
                                              • Industry insight
                                                • Friendship groups
                                                  • Celebration group travel
                                                    • Youth/student groups
                                                      • Group adventures
                                                        • Group cruising
                                                          • Sports groups
                                                            • Pilgrimage group travel
                                                                • Figure 19: Compostelas by year, 2004-17
                                                              • Male/female groups
                                                                • Group voluntourism
                                                                • Return to the Experts

                                                                  • Some Key Destinations

                                                                    • Countries
                                                                      • Figure 20: The world’s leading tourism destinations, 2015-18
                                                                    • Cities
                                                                      • Figure 21: Top 20 global city destinations, by overnight international visitors, 2012-17
                                                                  • What’s New?

                                                                    • Group Travel and Technology

                                                                        • Figure 22: Internet penetration rates in selected countries, 2000 & 2010-18
                                                                    • What Next?

                                                                        • Growth in experiential group travel
                                                                          • Continued importance of grass-roots group travel
                                                                            • Quality and customer loyalty
                                                                              • Early booking
                                                                                • Ever more diverse groups
                                                                                  • Growth in niche segments
                                                                                    • Group-travel experts