SALEM – The emergence from COVID-19 has provided new opportunity for Group Travel Family of Brands.
The organization, based in Salem, serves volunteer planners of leisure travel for church, ethnic and social groups across the country.
“People traveling with an affinity group or friends and family usually look to one person as the travel leader. That is our member,” says Charlie Presley, founder of Group Travel Family of Brands.
The organization offers training, networking and destination knowledge through in-person conferences and monthly publications.
“We do not sell travel but help 25,000 volunteers across the country take over 5 million people on trips each year, and that’s our mission,” Presley says.
While its numbers dropped 25% during the pandemic, “We did not back down,” he says.
That persistence paid off, he says, as numbers returned to peak levels in 2022, with a projected growth of up to 10% in 2023.
While travel is an in-person experience and Presley believes in the value of travel conferences, he has also invested in an online vehicle to deliver destination information to the organization’s members.
“Travel planners need new ideas to keep their trips fresh and interesting” he says.
That thought led to the development of Groups on Demand, an Internet portal where planners of group travel can watch interviews about destinations. The site helps groups discover places that they might not have been aware of, such as North Platte, Nebraska; Mason City, Iowa; and Henderson, Nevada.
Group Travel Family of Brands has invested in upgrading technology to make the client experience more efficient and pleasant, according to Presley.
The company added two employees last year: Cassandra Blankenship in sales and Ben Everly in operations.