According to a PhoCusWright study, one of the key competitive areas for the online travel industry is in the groups and meetings market, which they say will represent $175 billion by 2008.

“What we’ve found in the group travel market is that many people do not identify themselves as a group and therefore they don’t take advantage of the services and travel options for groups or the new online collaboration tools to make group travel easy to plan,” said Mike Stacy, CEO of Groople. “With the growing popularity of mancations, girlfriend getaways and other group-oriented travel, Groople has evolved the group travel booking process, focusing on travel options based on group types.” When using the Internet to plan a group trip or gathering, respondents to the PhoCusWright survey said the most important things they look for in a Website are quick response times to requests, ability to speak to a live person, ability to receive group discounts and planning tools such as calendars, maps and directions and trip idea recommendations.

Whether planning a family reunion, corporate meeting or weekend with the guys, Groople knows groups and knows what groups need in order to make their getaway or gathering a success. Groople has a team of friendly group travel specialists to assist with bookings and make changes to itineraries on the spot. Additionally, Groople’s knowledgeable group agents will work on your behalf for upgrades, add-ons, freebies and other extra services.

Consumers benefit by using Groople because Groople offers travel products designed for specific group types, online collaboration capabilities for group members to discuss their selections online, customized search results fitting their individual group’s needs and more than 60 group events and destination pages offering recommendations and trip planning tips.

“When consumers first began purchasing travel over the Internet analysts touted huge growth potential for the space, and now those online transactions represent more than half of all travel sales,” commented Stacy. “The group travel market is the last frontier of the online travel industry and like the overall online travel market; we believe growth potential is enormous.”

Other key findings from the PhoCusWright Report titled Groups and Meetings: Market Opportunity Redefined include:

- Median spending for group gatherings is $1,800 (not including corporate meetings)
- On average, 19 individuals attend a gathering and that event typically lasts 3.5 days
- The top 5 destinations for group travel include: Florida, California, Las Vegas, the Caribbean and Mexico
- 55 percent of group travelers are traveling for a family reunion or function

Younger respondents (21-34) are more likely to plan friend reunions, school group/class reunions, Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, and concerts or other entertainment/spectator sport events
Travelers making up the groups and meetings segment include family reunions, sports outings (ski, golf, tennis, etc.), friends’ reunions (mancations, girlfriend getaways, fraternity/sorority, etc.), weddings, association/community groups, religious events and corporate meetings.