Nothing bonds teams like thrill-inducing gatherings building
As traveler sentiment gets more positive and travel restrictions become more lax, one thing is certain: People are ready to get out there again. All the remote work has left many feeling lonely, in isolation and without connection; it can also reduce productivity up to 21 percent, according to Gallup.
With things seeming to trend more normal by the day, face-to-face team-building activities may come back with a vengeance.
A recent acquisition by one tour operator may herald what the future holds. Lindblad Expeditions expanded its adventure travel offerings when it bought two large tour operators, DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. and Off the Beaten Path LLC. Lindblad, which specializes in adventure cruises, wanted to broaden its platform by stepping into the rapidly growing world of domestic expedition and cycling tourism, which in 2017 brought in $83 billion in “trip-related spending,” according to Outdoor Industry Association.
Women-owned and women-run, AdventureWomen specializes in activities across more than 65 countries, from exploring Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru; other adventures include hiking, whitewater rafting and spelunking (cave exploration). All tours are accompanied by local guides and an AdventureWomen Ambassador.
Adventures in Good Company, another tour operator for women, offers a host of multisport adventures across the globe for all activity levels, including expeditions in Adirondacks State Park in New York; and hiking, horseback riding and exploring the seas and mountains of Costa Rica. Private and custom trips are available.
The Case for Adventure Team Building
Even prior to Covid-19, cycling-related adventure and usage saw rapid expansion—an expansion that increased ever more rapidly after the pandemic hit. According to research company NPD Group, from January through October 2020 bike sales increased more than 60 percent and e-bike sales increased 144 percent, compared to the same period in 2019.
Piggybacking on this demand for groups, especially for younger and fitter demographics, is made easier with experienced tour operators like those in Lindblad’s newly expanded portfolio.
Hosting adventure tours around the world, from Arizona and Maui to Thailand and Ireland, DuVine offers cycling tours for individuals of all levels; tours can range from 5 to 71 miles and can be up to seven days. It runs a number of combined experiences for groups that pair cycling with sailing, hiking, kayaking, skiing, snorkeling or horseback riding.
“Cycling works beautifully for corporate groups,” says Mia Liefeld, marketing and content director for DuVine. “Traveling on a bike is such a great way to rediscover a feeling of freedom. You’re part of the landscape as you move through your environment. You could walk in these places, but you won’t cover as much ground. You could get in a tour bus, but a window separates you from the world, and the sense of accomplishment is lacking.”
Off the Beaten Path, based in Bozeman, Montana, offers small group and private journeys around the world, with a focus on U.S. National Parks, including Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and Zion National Park in Utah.
Bike touring adventures are not all about outdoor fitness. They offer a plethora of activities in addition to the biking itself. Tours such as those offered by DuVine include stops at diners, restaurants and wineries, as well as visits to historic sites, museums and parks. DuVine—and other tour operators—will provide all equipment needed.
DuVine covers those looking for a leisurely ride, as well as the challenge-seeking. “It’s not uncommon for us to accommodate corporate groups with several subgroups, covering a lesser or greater range of miles and elevation. We also offer e-bikes, which have become a great equalizer by allowing cyclists of different abilities to enjoy the same ride,” Liefeld says.
Biking, of course, is not the only flavor of group adventuring and teaming. Naturetrek, based in the United Kingdom, offers customizable tours focused on numerous types of watching activities, including bears, big cats, birds, lynx and whales.