6 ways to ensure stress-free group travel
Whether there’s 10 of you going to a conference in Asia, or you need to arrange for 60 employees to go on a worldwide staff incentive trip, organising group travel is stressful. As well as managing everyone’s expectations, you’ll need to think about accommodation, transfers, flights, food, possibly arranging a local tour, team building exercises, client meetings – and that’s just for starters!
Get it right and group travel can be one of the most rewarding and profitable experiences for any business; get it wrong and it’ll be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Over the years, we’ve had lots of experience with travelling groups, from arranging incentive trips to South Africa to conferences in Hong Kong, so here are our top tips for making the process as stress-free and seamless as possible.
1: Decide on the purpose of your group travel trip before you book
It might sounds obvious, but if you don’t know what you want to achieve on the trip, then it’s going to make it so much more difficult to organise. Attending a conference with the aim of attracting new clients is very different to organising an incentive trip for your staff.
Also, consider carefully the people who are coming along. Even if it’s just for a couple of nights, you are taking people away from their home and family, so while booking a great luxury hotel in a great location is a good starting point, you need to make every part of the trip count.
If you are organising an incentive trip, remember it’s not all about relaxation and fun. Think about building a whole brand identity around your incentive programme to inspire and excite your staff and get their complete buy-in. You might even want to have a full communication plan to support the trip, both before and after, so you maximise its value to the company. And remember, if you are looking to foster better relations between teams, make sure you build in time and activities for them to do just that. Not sure where to start? Take a look at our incentive travel services for inspiration.
2: Think carefully about your travel budget
Once you’ve decided on the purpose of your trip, think about the budget. You may want to give your group a trip of a lifetime to a luxury resort in Australia, or visit one of the best hotels in the world, but you may have to just opt for an experience to remember at one of London’s luxury hotels.
Your budget should cover everything from transfers to flights, accommodation to travel insurance. Also, factor in any staff expenses, such as wining and dining a potential client during a conference. You may find you have a smaller or larger budget than expected to spend on the experience.
3: Get organised
Organising group travel can take up an inordinate amount of time, so our best advice is to be proactive and get as much information as you need up front. If you’ve been told you need to book a luxury hotel in London, ask what type of hotel. London has a lot of stunning luxury hotels, so do you need to find a modern 5 star hotel suitable for groups, or something a bit more boutique in a specific neighbourhood?
If you are arranging group travel for people coming from different locations, double-check their starting point and how long they will be staying. Once you’ve got all the information together you can group people based on location and dates and arrange for them to travel as a group.
Also, always double-check any accessible requirements. There is nothing worse than a staff member or client turning up and not having a room suitable for their needs.
And finally make a list of all the different elements you need to organise. This could include arranging ground, boat or helicopter transfers; choosing a hotel booking service; confirming all conference bookings; organising team building exercises; arranging a local tour of the sites; bespoke gifts; travel insurance – the list is endless, which makes it easy to forget something.
4: Choose the right location and venue for luxury corporate travel
If you’re clear on the purpose of the trip and your budget, then choosing the right venue will be a lot easier. For example, if you are all attending a conference, then it makes sense to stay close to the conference venue to cut down on unnecessary travel expenses, and, if you plan to hold any private client meetings, consider luxury hotels which offer private dining facilities.
Planning incentive travel can be a lot of fun but having clear objectives and a set budget, will stop you going overboard; however you should be thinking about creating amazing memories. This could be by ensuring your group travel experience comes with a spirit of adventure or making it more like a holiday with a bit of work thrown in!
Remember, you don’t necessarily have to book a luxury hotel. How about a private island or a stately home? And factor in whether you need to go and see the venue beforehand. Often things can look great online, but the reality can be disappointing.
It’s why using a venue finding service is such a great idea, as they will have the inside knowledge, creativity and the contacts to ensure your expectations are met each and every time. Our venue finders have current, global knowledge of the best hotels in the world and the global buying power to ensure you’ll always get a great deal. So, if you fancy saving yourself time and stress, consider using our venue finder service.
5: Look for discounts on flights for travel as a group
If you have less than 10 people in your group, then you may be able to book your flights online. Any more than that, and most airlines have a special team dedicated to group travel. Don’t be surprised though, if they don’t give you the best rate. This is because they know that closer to the departure day, they will be able to sell the tickets at a higher price, so the cost per ticket per group member will likely be more than if you just purchased a single ticket. However, we wouldn’t recommend you ask people to book their own flights just to save a few pounds. Chances are they’ll all end up on different flights, or even worse won’t be able to get a flight at all!
It’s worth negotiating with airlines on ticket prices, but if they won’t budge see if you can get free luggage, extra legroom or priority check-ins instead.
6: Hire a group travel services company
Group travel can be a complete nightmare to organise, which is why a lot of companies use a hotel booking agent or venue search service. But if you want to save yourself both time and stress, we suggest you use our end-to-end incentive travel and group travel services.
Creating amazing memories is what excites us, so all our group travel and incentive programmes are thoughtfully tailored to each group and client, bespoke in design and exploring some of the most unusual, special and memorable destinations worldwide. We manage all budgets, objectives and group sizes, so whether you’re looking for a weekend city holiday break or an adventure in Asia or Australia, let us help you create an amazing group travel experience.