Are you tired of nagging parents to make trip payments?
Are you concerned that your trip participant numbers keep fluctuating?
Have trip participants dropped out as the final payment deadline approached?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. These are common concerns for group leaders, especially if you are fairly new to the trip planning process. Many parents sign-up for a trip with good intentions but fail to commit by go-time.
Here are 3 simple ways to encourage trip commitment from participants:
Trip Commitment Tip #1: Make the First Trip Deposit Non-Refundable
Establish a payment schedule where the first trip deposit is non-refundable. This causes parents to stop and consider more seriously whether they are able to afford the trip, whether the trip is a worthwhile opportunity for their son/daughter, and whether they will be able to make payments on-time. Knowing that they are unable to get their money back encourages more commitment to the trip.
You may be thinking that a non-refundable deposit prevents more students from attending. In our more than 35 years of school trip planning experience, we can say confidently that this is not the case. Making the first payment non-refundable actually encourages more participants to commit early on and then stay committed. However, attrition can and will happen during the planning process. If it must happen, it is better for attrition to occur at the outset rather than closer to the departure date. This gives you, the group leader, more realistic numbers to work with and prevents unnecessary work later in the process.
Trip Commitment Tip #2: Limit Space
Many schools that we work with limit the number of seats available for the trip, rather than keeping seat availability open-ended. For example, space is limited to the first 50 people who make their first trip deposit.
This does two things:
- It creates scarcity. Inherently, limiting the available quantity of something makes the item more desireable. Parents eagerly rush to sign students up for the trip. Knowing that they secured one of the coveted spots encourages them to stay commited to the trip.
- It puts the group in the lowest price bracket. Scholastica provides a breakdown of trip cost based on the number of paying participants on each bus. The more people that fill each bus, the lower the per person price. This is due to the fixed costs of the trip (e.g. the motorcoach cost) being divided among more people. The less expensive of a trip, the more likely participants will complete their payments and stay commited.
Trip Commitment Tip #3: Include Multiple Deposits in Your Payment Schedule
We encourage group leaders to include multiple smaller deposits in their payment schedule, rather than one initial deposit and a final payment only. For example, if the trip costs $400, we suggest a payment schedule of four $100.00 deposits rather than one deposit of $100 and a final payment of $300. This encourages parents to stay on track with the budget for the trip. Keeping their budget lowers participant attrition and keeps trip commitment high among families.
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