Select Traveler

SEP-OCT 2016

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40 S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 I t's no secret that group travel tends to attract a lot of women — signifi cantly more women than men. Because of this, many tours feature a lot of activi- ties that appeal to women, and the attitude of the entire industry is very welcoming to females. Given this background, you might think that you're already doing a good job of planning trips that appeal to women. But if you don't offer any women-only tours, or "girlfriend getaways," you might be missing a valuable op- portunity to reach some travelers who have been hesitant to join your group. We caught up with two tour operators who are experts in women-only travel to fi nd out what makes their trips suc- cessful and their customers happy. Their insights will prove helpful to any group travel planner who is interested in bringing more women into the program. C A R E E R C O R N E R women-only trips? Y O U B E SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT When Debra Asberry wanted to take a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon in 1997, she couldn't fi nd a trip that was designed for her to participate as a single — they were all set up for couples. A magazine editor in the Baltimore-Washing- ton area at the time, she polled her readers and found that many women had encountered the same problem: ey want- ed to travel but didn't want to go on their own or be the fi fth wheel with a group of couples. "It wasn't just widowed or divorced women — it was women in every category," she said. "Even women who are married have diff erent interests than their husbands do on a broad scope of travel issues. Women have a lot of disposable in- come these days, and they want to spend that money on travel." Seeing an opportunity, Asberry started Women Traveling Togeth- er, a tour company that takes small groups of women on tours to destinations throughout the United States and around the world. e National Parks of the West are some of her most popular destinations, as are cit- ies such as Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and New Orleans. But she also regularly sends groups to London, Paris, Italy and even exotic destinations in South- east Asia. Asberry said, on the surface, these women-on- ly trips don't look much diff erent than a standard mixed-gender tour: ey visit many of the same attractions and do a lot of adventurous activities. But the female travelers experience the destinations — and each other — in diff erent ways on these trips. Top: Wandertours group in Santa Fe, courtesy Wandertours Bottom: Women's group on a Vietnam boat ride, courtesy Women Traveling Together BY BRIAN JEWELL offering should growing your group g row i n g y our group WOMEN-ONLY

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