It is no small feat organizing a tour – a lot of preparation and forethought is needed to pull everything together. As we are well versed in group travel, we thought to share some tips with you to get the most from your time spent putting it all together.
Read on to find out which are the milestone organizational points on a religious tour planning timeline. Keep in mind that time frames will vary from group to group. However, overall, this should make the whole process a little less stressful for you as the organizer.
Religious Tour Planning Timeline For Travel Organizers
Now, you could be the head of a religious or spiritual group putting together a trip yourself. Or you could be a tour operator who has been approached to plan a custom religious tour for a specific group. Either way, this can serve as a useful religious tour planning timeline.
12 to 18 Months Before Departure
With a fair amount of time available to plan, you can sit down with several members of your religious or spiritual group, or the person who contacted you to be an organizer, and discuss the tour requirements.
You should touch on points such as the purpose of the trip – it is for fellowship or to deepen religious or spiritual connection? What destination do you have in mind? When is the experience going to take place?
Evaluate whether the various people you discuss your vision with are receptive to your ideas. Gathering input from people close to the cause will help you to get a feel early on as to whether or not to go forward with this course of planning.
12 Months Before Departure
This is a key moment in your religious tour planning timeline. It is now time to make a final decision on some of the defining elements of the trip, including:
- Purpose or theme of the tour
- Travel dates
- The age group you want to lead
- A budget price for each place on the trip
- Duration of the tour or pilgrimage
- Total group size you will be guiding
With an outline of the tour in place, it is time to put together a brochure or booking page. You want to start breathing life and interest into the experience and need to have something to present to potential participants.
In case you need some tips on what to include in the religious tour description for your brochure or booking page, click here.
If you don’t have a website, or even if you do but want to design a beautiful booking page that will catch people’s attention, then set up your trip using the WeTravel platform. In addition to the booking page, it will help you further down the line with taking in payments or adding a booking button to your website.
10 to 12 Months Before Departure
During this time on your religious tour planning timeline, you need to be actively marketing the experience, either to your church, religious or spiritual group, or to the world at large if you want to extend the invite to people outside of your circle.
If you haven’t already done so, you should also finalize the trip details. This can include confirming the history site, monument, or church visits, commissioning a local guide from the area, contacting members of your religious organization who live in the destination you are traveling to, etc.
The same can be said for the tour cost. Get the quotes in for accommodation, transport, and planned activities, and secure bookings where needed.
Some tour organizers opt to include flights in their package price while others don’t. If you do decide to build it in, now is the time to get a quote from an airline or travel agency. Generally, flights increase in price closer to the travel dates, so take note of how long they are valid. Also, the longer you wait to make the flight reservation, the greater the chance of them selling out too.
6 to 10 Months Before Departure
Now is the point on the religious tour planning timeline where you should be receiving sign-ups and deposits for the tour. As we mentioned earlier, if you are using the WeTravel platform, you will have access to an easy way to accept online payments from your attendees.
Continue actively promoting your tour as well, and start paying out deposits to your suppliers as money from your clients comes in.
3 to 6 Months Before Departure
If at this point in the religious tour planning timeline, there are still spaces available on the trip, you need to pick up on marketing.
Contact people who had previously shown interest, but have not yet committed. Ask those who have already signed up if they have any friends or family who may want to join. Mention the trip to your religious group every chance you get to keep interest piqued.
To the people who have already signed up, send out reminders to check passport validity if traveling internationally. Also, keep communication going and set the tone for the upcoming trip. You want attendees to be excited and ready for their life-changing experience.
1 to 3 Months Before Departure
Depending on your payment terms, now is the time in the religious tour planning timeline to ask attendees for their final payments. Your vendor payments deadlines are also looming, so these need to be finalized too.
If necessary, do one last promotional push to fill the final spaces of the tour.
1 Week to 30 Days Before Departure
Send tour dossiers to attendees to fill them in on the finer details of the trip. Include a full itinerary, dress codes for religious sites if need be, packing lists, safety tips, as well as important contact numbers.
It is also a good idea to arrange a pre-travel fellowship meeting with everyone so they can meet the people they will be traveling with.
Finally, touch base with all of your suppliers to ensure that they are ready to receive you and your group. Pass on any meal requirements for participants so that they can prepare.
While this is just a rough religious tour planning timeline to follow, we hope it will help you to be more organized. In case you didn’t know, the WeTravel platform can significantly reduce the amount of organizational admin you have to deal with when planning a tour. Not forgetting it is a secure payment platform designed specifically for travel organizers.
Watch the video below to find out more how WeTravel can help you manage payments and organize your religious or faith-based tours.