Designate Someone to Be in Charge
Whether the nature of your travel is business or social, you will want to have one person designated as the official group travel planner. With corporate travel, this is typically handled by your company’s travel or meeting planner but if the nature of your travel is social, it is most helpful to assign this task the person who is most central, detail-orientated and organized who can actively keep the rest of the group informed of all decisions and any last-minute changes.
Define the Budget
While planning a group incentive trip or family reunion is fun, getting your corporate executives or individuals if the travel is social in nature to commit and pay for it is never easy. It easy to envision the experience but not everyone will have the same funds to play with. That said, defining a budget before you start planning your trip will save you loads of time and heartache.
Book Well in Advance for the Best Savings on Group Lodging & Airfare
Hotels and resorts are the common choice for lodging for most travelers. Getting group rates at hotels is the single biggest cost savings (between 10-70% off regular rates) you can have when planning group travel. And the best way to save is to get hotels to compete for your group. meetingpages makes this simple, with our online RFP where you can simply submit a request to all hotels and resorts and destinations that meet your location criteria.
It is important to look for group airfare. This is especially helpful if most of the members of your group are traveling from the same location. Many airlines offer discounts for groups and may include bonuses for your group if you are traveling together. Some of the advantages to booking your flight as a group include;
- Discounted tickets
- Free airfare
- Reserved seating
- Package options
Call the airlines you are considering to learn what they consider to be a group. Most airlines will consider a group to be 10 or more but it varies for each one. Just be sure that you understand their policies before you make any reservations.
Or, another option is booking your event location within attendee driving distance, this way the individuals are responsible for transportation to your group event. If your group is trying to spend conservatively, then selecting a destination that folks can drive to may be the most economical.
If your group is converging from multiple destinations then try to centralize the group travel destination for the majority of the folks so that the overall costs are minimized for the group as a whole.
Book in the off-season
It is true that the season that you travel in makes a difference in pricing. You will often find that traveling during an off season will turn out the best discounts. For example, it is best to travel to the Caribbean in the fall and spring because these are considered to be potential hurricane seasons. This is also true for other places as well.
There are several different ways to save money when you are making reservations for hotel rooms or booking flights. When you know what to look for, who to speak to and what questions to ask, you will be well on your way to saving big on your group travel plans.
Prices for hotels and other excursions can halve during the quieter months as operators are desperate to try and get some business through their doors. This goes double for large groups. Group discounts during off-peak travel can massively discount your final expense bill and can save you thousands if planned well.
Find the Best Cruise Deal
Cruising is one the most affordable ways to travel with your group. Accommodations and meals are provided on cruise ships and so the group excursions and the ground-work on itineraries has already been done. As with any travel destination, planning in advance and in the off-season will ensure the best rates for your travel.
Book as Many Things as a Group as Possible including Excursions & Day Trips
Instead of booking individual transfers/transportation, consider booking group transportation services that can transfer the entire group at one time, this will decrease transfer costs whether from the airport or to an excursion.
Find a Good Resident Tour Operator
Working with a local tour operator who knows the destination best will ensure your group will not only see the best highlights the destination has to offer but also help insure you the best group pricing for excursions and day trips.
Build in Some Free Time
It is helpful to balance your group travel days with organized activities and days that are completely free so attendees can choose to do what they want. Often times, people have varying passions of what they want to see on vacation. Setting a day aside for attendees to do something they want to do will also help keep tensions cool while traveling and make people more refreshed and relaxed for the group events throughout the trip (and not to mention save the corporate host money by not providing meals or activities on said day).
Use Apps to Make Planning and Sharing Expenses Easier
Many apps are available for trip-planning such as Travefy that allows you to discuss and approve plans and slipwise to do the math if the nature of your travel is social for sharing expenses.
Use a Shareable Document or Build a Microsite for Attendee Planning and Information
If apps are too involved for some members of your group, consider creating a shareable document that all parties can access online or create a microsite. It should include important details like emergency contact numbers, things to know about the accommodation (rooming arrangements, wi-fi password, etc.) and important dates or activities that will take place during the travel event.