Photo: The Groove Cruise
A cruise gone groovy
© 2012 Group Tour Media Blog,
June 8, 2012
By Erin Albanese
It’s cool to catch up with people who are making things happen.
Over the years, I had often heard about fellow Wyoming, Mich., native Jason Beukema, who has journeyed around the globe as a tour manager, embracing adventure and life as a young entrepreneur.
His career has taken him on many cruises – he’s now been on 49 – but he said the voyages always left him wondering where the party was.
Because of his own opinion concerning activities offered onboard, he realized a segment of the market could be better targeted. Traditional cruises didn’t offer much for his own demographic, those in the 25-35 age range without kids in tow who would rather turn up the volume and dance than head to a 5 p.m. dinner buffet before some ballroom dancing.
He envisioned a new product best described as a floating dance music festival, and, in 2004, launched The Groove Cruise, through his business Whet Travel. His first cruise, customized for himself and a group of friends, grew to 125 passengers, and the party hasn’t stopped since. Now, eight years and many voyages later, he’s booked his biggest yet. Ready to leave Miami Jan. 25 is a sold-out full-ship charter with a capacity of 2,300 revelers ready for a three-day non-stop party. He works with many affiliates and has received big-name sponsors.
It seems like an obvious formula for success: electronic dance music, dancing, energetic people, a huge cruise ship and tropical locations. It’s like Spring Break for adults, a hedonistic free-for-all, a cruise given a huge shot of adrenaline.
I talked to Jason, who lives in South Beach, Fla., the other day. After catching up on what’s new in our shared hometown, I asked him how it feels to see the crowd come together and the party take place.
He said he has to pinch himself sometimes, realizing he’s created an unforgettable experience, kind of a playground for adults.
The Groove Cruise, on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, offers a dozen dance parties throughout the weekend and music playing the entire 72 hours. Contests and themes enhance the parties. There’s no set-schedule, meals are always available, and within reason, anything goes. The destination from Miami is Great Stirrup Cay, a private island in the Bahamas, where more than 40 artists perform.
It’s interesting to think about how niche markets in the group travel industry are often created. Someone realizes an industry or product isn’t serving their needs or doesn’t appeal to their tastes and tweaks it. Someone searches fruitlessly for something they would really like and puts it out there. Jason decided to offer a group-travel option gone wild, because it was to tame for him and his friends.
My last blog was about Geek Nation Tours, founded by Teras Cassidy, an entrepreneur who knew there was a market for people with non-mainstream hobbies and created tours “for geeks by geeks.” I’m also working on an article about fans of The Vampire Diaries television show who have attracted guests from all over the world to their Mystic Falls Tours.
All three of these businesses show that sometimes going the non-traditional route really pays off, and all it takes to get started is to look inside yourself. What niche do you see missing?
Tell us what you think or offer article suggestions to the editor.
There are many more international group travel articles available in our Group Tour Media article archive.
Mail: 2465 112th Ave.
Holland, MI 49424
Fax: (616) 393-0085
Phone: 1-800-767-3489 between 8am - 5pm, EST.
© 2013 Group Tour Media. All rights reserved.