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The region’s largest vacation and activity provider, Moab Adventure Center, is embracing the latest trend in group travel – the private, custom- designed tour. They report that more and more clients are now selecting experiences singular to just their group of friends, family and co-workers.
“Over the past several seasons we’ve seen a substantial increase in honeymooners, small groups of friends and couples, VIP’s and families requesting private, custom-built itineraries,” according to Jamie Pearce, manager of Moab Adventure Center. “We’ve planned trips to epic vistas and trails our guides have discovered where we’ve jeeped to the top, rappelled down, and biked back to the trailhead. We’ve 4×4’d in musicians for entertainment and prepped gourmet dinners surrounded by amazing scenery. We’ve orchestrated off-road experiences for the media and filming events.”
The driving force, speculates Pearce, is that privacy is now the most valued commodity among travelers. Quality of experience is more important than cost, although custom trips can offer greater value than packaged tours based on number of participants. If a group size warrants, it will be treated as a private group without paying increased fees for a private tour. The Moab Adventure Center offers group discounts of up to 20 percent off.
“When ultimate flexibility, privacy and overall control matter, a private, custom trip is the growing answer,” adds Pearce.
Moab Adventure Center offers an expanding menu of private tours for exploring this red rock playground situated between two national parks; Arches and Canyonlands. Clients can build a romantic river escape for just two or an active multi-generational family outing with age-appropriate activities and challenges such as national park tours, mountain biking, Hummer safaris and canyoneering. The Moab Adventure Center can design a custom program for just a day or plan a week-long multi-day itinerary based on specific requests. The benefits of a custom trip may be, among others, to compliment travel schedules, to provide more intimate personal experiences, to bring unusual dining adventures to the tour and to let clients determine how and where they want to spend their time.
Privacy and exclusivity are usually top of mind when groups of any size plan an outing. The center has recently seen an uptick in adventures created specifically for bachelor and bachelorette groups as well as groups of women looking for something different. Pearce assures that, “no request is too outrageous for us to consider, as long as it meets our safety guidelines.”
Another benefit of setting up a private trip is that participants can travel with that group and just those individuals involved. It is appealing for those that want to travel with people of similar beliefs such as a recent Christian Cataract Canyon raft trip set up by the Moab Adventure Center for an area church group.
It is always best to start planning months in advance for the best availability and options. Corporate and special-interest groups are advised to plan minimally eight months to a year out in order to secure appropriate accommodations. A popular potpourri for corporate groups combines whitewater rafting with a Hummer Safari excursion and an afternoon in the national park with ample time for bonding and meetings. Some groups may want to go extreme adventure, while others seek an easy experience. Typical group itineraries of two to three nights start with a welcome dinner at a resort, breakfast, corporate meeting, activity, corporate dinner, guest speaker the following day, another activity, possible another meeting, then end with a farewell dinner and high-energy party.
A few of the most popular private tours include the following activities:
- Private Hummer Tour – For up to 8 guests @ $350 per hour for vehicle and driver/guides. A gourmet dinner or sunrise breakfast is an extra $50 per person.
- Private Photography / Scenery Tour – A guide/driver takes guests to insider favorites, with pick up at hotel or campground. Rates are available on request.
- Private Stand Up Paddle Boarding Adventure – For up to 6 guests @$600 per departure for private guide and once-in-a-lifetime experience on the Colorado River. Included are transportation, paddleboard rental, instruction, guide, snacks and beverages.
- Private Sunset Raft Trip – A two-person minimum at $300 per person for rafting adventure on the Colorado River with private river guide who explains points of interest along the way. The day can end with an optional dinner at a riverside ranch (for an additional fee).
- Private Tours of Moab and Beyond – Rates are available upon request. This is a four to six-hour outing that can be arranged over several days for an intimate view of the parks and surrounding areas of interest: dinosaur habitats, ancient Puebloan ruins, sites of famous movie locations and more.
To speed things up so people can slow themselves down, the region now has scheduled daily air service from Denver, CO, and Salt Lake City, UT.
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