Central Holidays is on track to close out the first quarter of 2023 with an increase in group bookings that has surpassed the company's Q1 pre-COVID sales by over 20%. The increase in year-over-year sales is even more impressive at 115%. The company attributes the growth in group bookings to a growing demand for customized groups, requests for a diversity of destinations, last-minute inquiries, and an influx of travel advisors seeking to get into group travel.
"We are seeing travel advisors leaning into group travel more than ever before," said Adam Greis, general manager of Central Holidays. "Equally, we are experiencing a dramatic rise of new-to-the-industry travel advisors eager to learn about group travel and starting to book groups. The numbers speak for themselves with bookings on pace to surpass our top performing pre-COVID sales year."
As 2022 opened, Central Holidays saw more people preferring to travel in smaller family and friend groups, with an increase in groups of 30 to 40 people as the year progressed, he added. But not all groups are small, he said. The largest group the tour company helped with last year reached nearly 4,000 travelers.
"… the majority of these groups are being driven by travel advisors – whether customized family travel, special interest, corporate, incentive or other. Many advisors have come to realize the benefits of selling group travel and the flood gates have opened."
To help support travel advisors with this growing trend, Central Holidays has invested in new technology and training. Advisors can look forward to the upcoming launch of its new website that will include a dedicated platform for travel advisors where they will be able to make and manage bookings and access marketing resources tailored to their agency.
Additionally, Central Holidays will be introducing training and development programs, including a webinar series, FAM trip opportunities, and more one-on-one trainings presented directly to agencies. Agencies looking to plan a one-on-one training session for their team can contact Central Holidays travel industry sales vice president Margie Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.