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UK Group and Escorted Tours Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Group Holidays and Escorted Tours 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? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Travel with a purpose
  • Group city breaks for Millennials
  • Older solo living trend will create need for new group holiday formats

Covered in this report

This report examines the current and potential market for group holidays and escorted tours overseas and within the UK. Respondents to Mintel’s consumer survey were given the following definition: ‘These are holidays where you travel with a group of other people led by a tour guide/host (eg coach holidays, group adventure holidays, special-interest group holidays). Educational travel such as school trips is not included.’

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by John Worthington, a leading analyst in the Travel sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

People of all ages, including older generations, are becoming ever more adventurous in their travel ambitions, seeking out the places once seen as the preserve of student backpackers. Escorted tours and group adventure holidays offer a secure, structured, hassle-free and expert-led format for this type of travel John Worthington
Senior Travel Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Holiday demand remains high but Brexit concerns are having an impact
              • Over-tourism is driving interest in more remote regions
                • Companies and brands
                  • Premium escorted tour and adventure brands performing strongly
                    • Figure 1: Selected leading specialist group holiday/escorted tour brands, by latest reported revenue, April 2019
                  • The consumer
                    • 23% of consumers went on a group holiday in past 12 months
                      • Escorted tour, adventure, hobby and voluntary work groups have growth potential
                        • Figure 2: Future interest versus past experience in group holidays/escorted tours, UK or abroad, February 2019
                      • Specialist brands account for around one in four trips
                        • Figure 3: Booking methods for group holidays/escorted tours, February 2019
                      • Adventure brands lag escorted tour operators in consumer recognition
                        • Figure 4: Consumer awareness of leading group holiday/escorted tour brands, February 2019
                      • Convenience is the biggest selling point
                        • Figure 5: Main attractions of a group holiday/escorted tour, February 2019
                      • Personalisation trend strikes a chord
                        • Small is beautiful for group holidays
                          • Figure 6: Group holidays/escorted tours, preferences and behaviour, February 2019
                        • Women value security of a group holiday for solo travel
                          • Figure 7: Attitudes towards group holidays/escorted tours, February 2019
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Older solo living trend will create need for new group holiday formats
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Travel with a purpose
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Group city breaks for Millennials
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • Domestic holidays have fallen back after summer 2018 heatwave
                                              • Brexit concerns are prompting bookings delays and demand for non-eurozone alternatives
                                                • Over-tourism is driving interest in more remote regions
                                                  • Escorted tour destination trends
                                                    • Middle East/North Africa and Asia trending for touring/adventure holidays
                                                      • Over-55 opportunity to grow in years ahead
                                                      • Market Background

                                                        • Higher wage growth helping to sustain consumer spending amid uncertainty
                                                          • Domestic tourism has dropped since heatwave summer
                                                            • Figure 8: Trends in the number and value of domestic holidays taken by UK residents, 2013-18
                                                          • Consumers postponing summer travel plans abroad
                                                            • Figure 9: Trends in the number and value of overseas holidays taken by UK residents, 2013-18
                                                          • Turkey and Italy have seen increase in demand
                                                            • Figure 10: Top 10 overseas short-haul holiday destinations, by number of trips, January-September 2018 versus 2017
                                                          • Shift to non-eurozone destinations
                                                            • Mexico, North Africa and China are fastest-growing long-haul destinations
                                                              • Figure 11: Top 10 overseas long-haul holiday destinations, by number of trips, January-September 2018 versus 2017
                                                            • Over-tourism helping to drive off-the-beaten-track touring
                                                              • Long-haul dominates touring destination trends
                                                                • Influence of celebrity explorers
                                                                  • Figure 12: Titan Travel, top 20 overseas escorted tour destinations, January 2019 versus 2018
                                                                • Touring offers low-risk way of going beyond travel comfort zone
                                                                  • Over-55 population growth favours escorted touring sector
                                                                    • Figure 13: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2013-23
                                                                  • Rise in mature solos offers growing opportunities
                                                                    • Figure 14: One-person households, by age, UK, 2007-17
                                                                  • Social isolation is creating need for new living (and holidaying) formats
                                                                    • Over-50s coach holidaymakers prefer onboard Wi-fi to a cup of tea
                                                                    • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                      • Shearings, Riviera and Newmarket are leading escorted tour brands
                                                                        • À la carte touring
                                                                          • Group adventure brands report strong revenue growth
                                                                            • Just You is largest group singles brand
                                                                              • Martin Randall and Specialist Journeys lead special-interest group sector
                                                                                • New style of youth holidays from Thomas Cook
                                                                                • Group Holidays & Escorted Tour Brands

                                                                                  • Escorted tour operators
                                                                                    • Leading brands
                                                                                      • General tour operators
                                                                                        • Figure 15: Leading escorted tour operators, April 2019
                                                                                      • Group adventure brands
                                                                                        • Travelopia
                                                                                          • Other group adventure brands
                                                                                              • Figure 16: Leading group adventure travel tour operators, April 2019
                                                                                            • Singles group brands
                                                                                              • Special-interest group brands
                                                                                                • Figure 17: Selected special-interest group holiday companies, April 2019
                                                                                              • Voluntourism
                                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                • Flexible touring trend
                                                                                                  • #MeToo tours
                                                                                                    • Veganventure travel
                                                                                                      • New Saga adventures
                                                                                                        • Family adventure
                                                                                                          • 18-30 holidays have grown up
                                                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                            • 23% of adults went on a group holiday in past 12 months
                                                                                                              • Escorted tours and small-group adventure are leading segments
                                                                                                                • Expansion opportunities
                                                                                                                  • Shearings and Cosmos have the highest levels of brand recognition
                                                                                                                    • Convenience and stress removal are key selling points
                                                                                                                      • Consumers want more personalised trips
                                                                                                                        • Small-scale is key to success
                                                                                                                        • Group Holidays & Escorted Tours Experience

                                                                                                                          • Escorted touring and group adventure are the biggest segments
                                                                                                                            • One in 10 adults travel as part of a club/organisation
                                                                                                                              • Figure 18: Experience of group holidays/escorted tours, UK and abroad, February 2019
                                                                                                                              • Figure 19: Experience of group holidays/escorted tours, UK or abroad, February 2019
                                                                                                                            • Escorted tours peak at either end of the age spectrum
                                                                                                                            • Group Holidays & Escorted Tours Future Interest

                                                                                                                              • Escorted tours, adventure, hobby hols and voluntourism show biggest growth potential
                                                                                                                                • Faith and youth group travel show little room for growth
                                                                                                                                  • Potential demand for city group breaks
                                                                                                                                    • Older solos offer biggest opportunity for singles holiday market
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 20: Future interest versus past experience in group holidays/escorted tours, UK or abroad, February 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Group Holidays & Escorted Tours Companions

                                                                                                                                    • Group holidaymakers are most likely to travel with their partner
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Travelling companions on group holidays/escorted tours, February 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Group Holidays & Escorted Tours Booking

                                                                                                                                    • 22% of group holidaymakers book via a specialist tour operator
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Booking methods for group holidays/escorted tours, February 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Group Holidays & Escorted Tours Brand Awareness

                                                                                                                                    • Shearings and Cosmos are best-known group holiday brands
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Consumer awareness of leading group holiday/escorted tour brands, February 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Over-55s have higher awareness of escorted tour brands
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Consumer awareness of leading escorted tour brands, February 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Adventure brands show low levels of awareness amongst potential customers
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Consumer awareness of leading group adventure travel brands, February 2019
                                                                                                                                    • Attractions of a Group Holiday/Escorted Tour

                                                                                                                                      • Group holidays can offer an ‘independent travel experience’ in a format of total convenience
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Main attractions of a group holiday/escorted tour, February 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Expertise of tour leader is a critical factor for specialist brands
                                                                                                                                        • Security is a major driver for women
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Main attractions of a group holiday/escorted tour, by gender, February 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Main attractions of a group holiday/escorted tour, by age, February 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Group Holidays & Escorted Tours Behaviours & Preferences

                                                                                                                                        • Personalising the group holiday
                                                                                                                                          • Small-scale can be a critical success factor
                                                                                                                                            • Premium potential
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Group holidays/escorted tours, preferences and behaviour, February 2019
                                                                                                                                            • Social media can be the catalyst for group holidays
                                                                                                                                            • Group Holidays & Escorted Tours Attitudes

                                                                                                                                              • Stress-free travel
                                                                                                                                                • Countering negative perceptions
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Attitudes towards group holidays/escorted tours, February 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                  • Definitions
                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology