Tour providers feed demand for shorter trips

Tour providers feed demand for shorter trips

Kensington Tours recently launched its first collection of three- and four-day private trips in North America, a product the company said was created in direct response to growing demand for shorter trips.

It’s a trend other travel companies say they, too, are seeing and one that is driving other new product offerings. 

Off the Map Travel, for example, launched what it calls the “Scandinavia Six,” consisting of six separate three-night adventures. The short trips include romantic log cabin stays, northern lights and midnight sun adventures plus a history-focused city break. 

Steve Born, chief marketing officer for the Globus family of brands, said, “The trend of ‘microvacations’ is indeed true for us. The best example of this is the success of our Short & Suite Avalon [river] cruises: six cruises of six days or less. These cruises are up more than 50% from last year. And on the land side, we continue to see growth in popularity through Monograms of our two- and three-night city packages.”

Collette said it has seen a rise in interest for its Spotlight trips, which are shorter than most tours and include just one city and one hotel.

Collette public relations manager Amelia Sugerman said, “We’ve been offering Spotlight for about five years. But we’ve definitely seen over the past 12 months that interest is increasing,” particularly in Europe.

Likewise, Tauck said it is seeing rising interest in its shorter European tours, and Abercrombie & Kent said it will be developing some shorter group journeys for 2021. It’s a trend Virtuoso has also identified in recent reports from its network of luxury agents.

Kensington’s offerings

Among the options from Kensington are exploring California’s wine country from a private yacht on the Napa River, seeing Alaska by land on a journey through the Matanuska River Valley, learning more about Manhattan’s most infamous residents on a tour that focuses on scandals of the Upper East Side and watching a Mardi Gras float being assembled with a local historian in New Orleans.

Other options include quick city breaks in San Francisco, New York and Washington as well as expeditions into the Canadian Rockies or the Arctic tundra to view polar bears in the wild.

“We’ve noticed a strong demand for shorter trips closer to home recently,” Kensington Tours president Alison Hickey said. 

“Our new ‘City Breaks,’ in particular, are a response to this trend,” Hickey added. “They offer clients the opportunity to get away for three or four days of fun and cultural immersion in some of North America’s most exciting locales.”

Jeremy Palmer, senior vice president of Tauck Land Journeys, said the company is seeing growing interest in its shorter European tours.

“In Europe, our ‘A Week in’ series of eight-day itineraries are booking incredibly well,” Palmer said. “And we’re up in the mid-double digits, percentage wise, over where we were last year at this time. Our longer land journeys in Europe are also up but not to the same dramatic level of the ‘A Week in’ trips.”

Palmer concluded: “So overall, our European land trips are doing very, very well. And with so many of our guests heading across the Atlantic, it’s not surprising that domestically our bookings are basically level with last year. So no, we’re not seeing a huge move toward closer-to-home vacations.”

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