How To Get the Best Group Travel Deals
Want to know the best way to get group travel deals? Plan Ahead!
We created this free Group Travel Planner/Event Planner Checklist to assist you in planning your family reunions, destination weddings, group vacations and group gatherings; so you will have time to create the best plan for your group at the best price for your budget.
1. Brainstorm Ideas for your Group! – 12-18 months ahead
Why Plan Early?
- Some destinations, cruises and resorts sell out more than a year in advance if they are in high demand.
- If you need large group meeting space you may need to plan at least a year ahead.
- Some of the best group rates are available as soon as the vendor opens space and you can negotiate the lowest rates and guarantee them at this year’s price for next year’s vacation.
- Allows group members to arrange time off and save for trip well in advance.
- There are fewer accommodations for large suites, condos, family cabins and family hotel rooms, than for couples.
Gather Your Group and Brainstorm
2. Narrow it down to 3 choices – 12-18 months ahead
- Once you have the top 3 choices, you can investigate and get quotes for group travel deals on these three choices.
- Once armed with this information you’re ready to meet.
3. Hold the Group Vacation Planning Meeting – 12-18 months ahead
- Pick your Group Vacation Leader (s) who will be responsible for ensuring all the tasks are completed but can delegate and reach out to the group for help. Most important your group leader will be the point of contact for the vendor(s) and will be responsible for negotiating group travel deals.
- Adjust and recheck your final choice based on groups needs and:
- Budget – Is this within your group’s desired budget? Or can the destination such as a cruise or resort offer a range of prices to accommodate those from budget to premium tastes?
- Are the destination and the date everyone can go a good fit? The value price may mean the destination is less desirable at this time of year, due to hurricane, humidity, crowds, etc.
- Date – Is your date driven by school schedules, holidays, etc then you may be paying a premium price
- Activities – Does your trip provide a variety of activities that will interest the group’s ages and tastes?
- Re-meet if necessary, but be firm, set a deadline for making the choice between the group’s final three.
4. Get Final Quote(s) from Vacation Vendors – 9 – 12 months ahead
- Decide if you want to work with the vendor(s) directly or Use a Professional Travel Agent or Group Travel Planner
- Check Vendor(s) References, Financial Stability & BBB
- Be sure quote(s) include everything, taxes, fees, fuel surcharges, compare apples to apples when deciding on group travel deals
- Price breakdowns per person, including type of accommodations, transportation, activities, meals and any additional special tours the group wants to include.
5. Select Final Group Vacation Package – 9 – 12 months ahead
- Tip: Try to work with a vendor that can assemble all of your group vacation into one package, and gives a price per person. This will simplify group pricing and collection of deposits. Plus you’ll have only one vendor to contact for any special requests, problems or cancellations and you’re more likely to get the best group travel deals.
- Be sure you understand the terms and conditions in detail in regards to deposits, final payment, cancellation, and how to resolve problems. Including who you can contact while you are ON VACATION.
- Can Group Travel Insurance can be bundled in with the price of the vacation, this will usually save money.
- Ask the vendor to take handle all arrangements from making initial inquiries, reservations, trip deposits, to avoid any miscommunication between your group member and what the trip includes and the status of their reservation.
- Be firm and clear to group participants what the deadlines are for calling in their deposits to secure their space.
- Splitting Expenses / Sharing Rooms / Cabins detail up-front on how to handle expenses/ cost sharing to set expectations. Put these details in writing.
- Warning! Do not make yourself personally liable. Avoid if possible collecting payments from your group and then making one payment to the vendor. In some states, there are very strict laws that all of these deposits must be put in an escrow account.
6. Promote Your Trip to the Group – 6 – 12 months ahead
- Send out the final group vacation details; dates, itinerary, cost per person, clearly outlining deposit and final payment due dates, cancellation policies, and terms & conditions
- Tip: Back up the final dates to allow for mail delays and some minor tardiness, Help your group succeed.
- Tip: Send out reminders when key dates are approaching
- Use group communication and organization tools on the web, such as a Myspace page, Facebook, or other good social communication tools
- Send out information about the group travel destination, activities and sightseeing activities
- Keep everyone involved and informed
7. Encourage Travel Insurance
- Insurance can’t replace the fact that a key group member had to miss the trip or go home early due to an emergency, but having travel insurance can relieve financial burdens, ease resolving issues during travel and help assist travelers in distress with emergency assistance services.
- In many cases, if a person is traveling outside of the US they do not have coverage from their existing medical insurance.
- The following website is very informative and provides good information.
- Better Yet, see if you can get a group travel deal discount rate and build it in to the price per person.
8. Plan Some Fun
- Plan activities that everyone can enjoy!
- Don’t over schedule – you’re on vacation!
- Make it Flexible and Optional
- Put it all in writing – Create a Group Vacation Planner.
- Create a checklist for your group.
- Create a calendar of important dates for the group.
- Send Reminders to group ahead of important dates.
- Follow-up with the vendors to ensure all is as expected.
- Follow-up with your group to ensure they are ready to go.
- There are many tools available on the web.
10. Final Payment & Final Checks
- Collect Final Payments and get confirmation from your vendor(s).
- Reconfirm all accommodations, transportation, meals, activities, hall facilities, events, etc. Get it in writing that all is as desired and paid in full.
- Ensure all travel documents and id are in order.
- Remind group to check airline travel regulations.
- Sent final pre-departure Announcements.
- Don’t forget to do this for yourself too!
By carefully planning your group’s trip well in advance, you can be sure that you will get the best possible group travel deals. When you stick to the schedule, you will have time to brainstorm, shop, comparison price, and search out the best group travel deals for your organization.