Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pre-Vacation, Virtual Friendships for Group Tour Participants?

Group tours are an indisputably social experience---and that's part of the reason many travelers choose them. But most people wait to make friends until they start the tour...until now, that is.

(Photo by Karen Blumberg)
Industry blog Tnooz is reporting that the large, well-established Trafalgar Tours is experimenting with social media tools to allow tour participants to interact before they ever set foot in a motorcoach. During the express check-in process, travelers will have the ability to create an online profile and contact other members of the group they'll be traveling with to exchange information, or perhaps just chat. Only other members of the tour group will be able to see these posts and receive inquiries.

Apparently, this social media experiment was given a test-run on some of Trafalgar's Italy tours this past summer and will be expanded to other destinations come fall.

What will be the outcome? Your guess is as good as mine.

Perhaps it will allow travelers to share rides to the airport and plan activities for the tour's downtime. Or will this become a tool to suss out exactly who the really annoying guy will be on this tour (and there's always one, isn't there)? Though knowing that in advance may not add much to the one's anticipatory enjoyment....

Ah, the Pandora's Box of social media. It'll be fascinating to see just how this experiment shapes the group tour experience.


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