What is the Best Group Pricing Strategy for Tours?

By Erick Tomaliwan

Marketing StrategiesMarketing Strategies

Group of women sitting in a jeep

With social bubbles expanding and restrictions loosening, people will be eager to do fun things with family and friends. Tour operators can capitalize on this by working group discounts into their pricing, helping to fill capacity with larger groups from one booking.

While crowds have long been the norm in travel, people will be seeking out smaller groups for upcoming trips. Advance group pricing might lead to spaces booking up quickly, and for you, as the experience provider, less admin work on multiple individual bookings.

Nothing beats personal interaction, and guests still yearn for face-to-face experiences. Despite restrictions currently limiting larger group getaways, in the wave of post-pandemic travel, how are you adapting group pricing to benefit your tour business?

Group enjoying sunset at Haleakala

Why offer group pricing?

Group booking discounts offer travelers an incentive for reserving multiple spaces within the same booking. The benefit for guests is giving them a reason to secure bookings with their family or friends in advance.

Tour operators can encourage larger groups to book their services by offering a special price based on how many people book at one time, or how many hours are reserved.

Group pricing allows you to apply these changes instantly. This way, a customer will see them in real-time on your booking form. The price per individual will decrease with each additional guest after a certain number.

Using advance group pricing to drive bookings provides guests with a reason to book early, minimizes administrative work for the tour operator and keeps familiar groups together.

Hiking group of friends celebrates reaching viewpoint

How to incentivize bookings with group discounts 

When considering group pricing, here are a few questions to help guide the process:

  • What kind of value does your tour business extend to smaller groups? 
  • How have your numbers and capacities changed in light of social distancing? 
  • Are you able to deliver a more personalized experience for small groups or offer longer stays, rentals or tours?  
  • What kind of incentives can you offer that might encourage people to book as a group? 

What is group pricing?

The reality is, certain travelers are going to ask about a group discount. It can be mutually beneficial to work a small discount into your rates depending on how many guests book at one time.

Group discounts and tiered pricing are great ways to provide your guests with flexible options. A paddle-boarding rental service may give a discounted rate for booking for a 24-hour period vs. a half-day, and an accommodation provider could offer an incentive for guests to stay an extra day or two. 

Group pricing incentivizes them to book a specific quantity or extended stay — which means more business for you.

Book up sooner by using group rates with the advantage of keeping travel pods together.  And, as the tour operator, you reap the benefit of having less administrative work to fill available bookings. 

Your pricing structure may look different each year and if you’re finding yourself operating at a smaller capacity, consider adjusting prices to line up with your business goals. With more people using an online reservation system to book their next trip, having easy access to information is key. 

Two senior couples viewing a tablet

3 things to highlight in your group pricing 

  1. Display your group rate. Mention whether guests receive discounted pricing for booking in groups and specify the number of guests required to reach the pricing perk. 
  2. Add recent photos that represent the size of groups you’re actively booking. Images allow guests to relate to the type of experience they are looking to book.
  3. Be descriptive. Include information detailing your cancellation policies and safety protocols in your FAQs. You’ll want to emphasize flexible cancellation and the methods you have in place to ensure safe guest interactions in a group setting.

How to set up discounted group rates

In Checkfront’s online booking system, the group pricing option is a feature you can set up directly from your item’s pricing page. And, in just a few steps, you’ll have it ready to go live. Here’s how to create group pricing in Checkfront: 

1. Edit an item

Group pricing set up

Go to the item in your inventory and click on the Pricing tab. 

Specify the quantity range (minimum and maximum values), for example, for a group of 1 to 5 Guests the amount is $100.00 per booking per guest. Then, select per guest as part of your rate calculation, for example, for a group of 1-5 Guests the Amount is $100.00 per booking per guest. Repeat this for every range with unique Pricing.

2. Set up group pricing

Group pricing will automatically update in real-time once guests reach a certain group size. As an example, let’s say a tour company wants to charge $100/person for groups with 1-5 attendees and $50/person for 6-10 people. A discounted per-person rate after a certain number of guests encourages larger groups to book all at once.

Tiered group pricing set up using Checkfront

The first group you create will be the first tier, which in this case will be for 1-5 people. There are two options beneath the range selector: Price Per Quantity, and Price Per Group. The former sets a charge for each booking — by the hour, item, or day. 

3. Repeat the steps

Repeat the steps to create the second group for the higher guest range.

The Price per Group option applies one singular price to the entire group range. If selected, this will charge a $50 flat rate for any group of up to five people. If you prefer to charge per person, set the button to display the Price Per Quantity option. From there, add a range for base pricing along when group rates apply.

Multiple parameter setup using Checkfront

You can apply group pricing to different guest types or group sizes; for example, creating group rates for adults and separate rates for kids, all at varying price points depending on the size of group

The “Price Per Group” option can be beneficial in certain situations. Let’s say, a tour has only fifteen slots open per outing, it can use the Price Per Group to give a special flat rate for bookings of fifteen guests while still offering pricing tiers for smaller group bookings. 

For more details, explore Checkfront’s Knowledge Base for details on setting up group pricing. 

Setting yourself up for a successful group booking

Socially distanced group touring vineyard on segways

Your website is one of your best resources for guests to discover what’s in it for them. If you offer group discounts, make this information easy to find for prospective guests. 

When it comes to handling group bookings, you’ll want to be prepared. For tour operators, a groups may come with a certain level of expectation along with a desire for a seamless experience. Ask yourself if you’re set up to manage group bookings and determine a group size that works best for your operation.

As an experience provider, lean on your online booking system to help you to communicate with guests throughout their booking experience and ensure they are well-prepared.

Each additional participant in a booking creates more work. You might have more administrative tasks like email or staff scheduling to manage on top of having gear to prepare. If you anticipate the added workload that larger groups bring, you’ll be better prepared to create an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Make sure your group pricing strategy aligns with your goals and is sustainable for your operation. How you structure your booking and pricing strategy in advance of the busy season will ensure you’re set up for success. 

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