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Tour operator Tauck is expanding its commitment to intimate, high-quality travel experiences with the introduction of its Smaller Groups tours. This new offering will feature an average of just 15 guests per departure, compared to the 24 guests on its existing Small Group tours and 35-44 guests on its classic land journeys.

“Although a large segment of our guests remain devoted to our classic group size, we’ve also seen incredible growth in our Small Group departures over the past several years,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar in a press statement “More recently, some of our guests have shown increasing interest in even smaller group sizes. Our market research has zeroed in on an optimal group size of 12-20 among those interested in smaller groups, so our average group size of 15 travelers is right in the center of that sweet spot.”

Kenya with Smaller Groups. (Photo by Tauck)

“Our guests want to experience deeper connections with the places they visit, and they want more time, freedom and flexibility. They also want to forge deeper connections with their Tauck Director, and with their local guides and fellow travelers, and all of that is easier to accomplish within a smaller group setting,” added Mahar. “And of course, smaller groups have access to places and experiences that simply aren’t available to larger groups. On our African safaris, for example, our Smaller Groups stay in cozy lodges and tented camps with limited capacity, minimizing disruptions to the wildlife and environment, and providing a more authentic experience.”

Tauck: 2024 Pilot, 2025 Launch

The Smaller Groups initiative is being piloted in 2024, with initial tours including America’s Canyonlands, A Week In… Spain and A Week In… Ireland. In total, 26 departures across seven itineraries in North America and Europe will be part of this pilot phase. The official launch of the program will coincide with Tauck’s 100th anniversary in 2025, expanding to include 124 departures across 12 itineraries in North America, Europe and Africa. The 2025 program will also feature three African safaris, where all departures are exclusively Smaller Group tours.

The new Smaller Group tours are designed to provide a more personalized and immersive travel experience. With fewer guests, tour directors and local guides can offer more focused attention and a deeper level of engagement. This structure also allows for more flexibility and spontaneity during the journey, enhancing the overall travel experience for guests.

River rafting in Banff. (Photo by Tauck)

The introduction of Smaller Groups is part of Tauck’s broader “Small is Big” strategy, which emphasizes the benefits of smaller group sizes across its various travel offerings, including European river cruises and small-ship ocean cruises.

Some examples: In Europe, Tauck’s ms Andorinha carries just 84 guests, fewer than any other riverboat in the company’s fleet and less than other ships operating on Portugal’s Douro River. The capacity of Tauck’s four 110-meter ships was reduced from 118 to 98 guests, and that of its four 135-meter ships was reduced from 190 to 130 guests.

As for small-ship ocean cruises, Tauck partners with Ponant, utilizing their Explorer ships with a capacity of 184 guests. Ten of Tauck’s small-ship ocean cruises operate aboard vessels carrying fewer than 200 guests, including three ships with a capacity of 100 or fewer. In contrast, the average cruise ship accommodates roughly 3,000 guests, with the largest carrying over 7,500 travelers.

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