To some travel agents, working with a large group of people to plan a single trip may sound challenging, but there are tons of benefits to booking group travel, from working with new potential clients to earning more money. From new to seasoned travel agents, here are four crucial tips for planning a harmonious and successful group trip:
Determine a group leader who will be your main point of communication
Almost every group will have one individual or couple that takes charge in the planning process. Discuss with the members of the group to determine who will be your main point of contact throughout the entire process. This way, you won’t be calling 12 different people every time you confirm a reservation. Also, meetings between you and the client will be far more productive if not every member of the group needs to be there to make a decision.
Nail down a budget that everyone agrees on
You’ll find that money will be one of the largest points of dissension among the group if a budget is not agreed upon right off the bat. Some individuals in the group may be fine with paying an extra $100 a night to stay in one hotel, while others would rather save that money to spend on new experiences during the trip. It’s essential that one of your first steps in planning be getting every member to agree on a certain price range for the entire trip to stay within. This will allow you to book lodging, transportation and other activities that every group member will feel comfortable participating in.
Make reservations for every restaurant at which the group will eat
As a travel agent, you undoubtedly know the importance of booking a few restaurant reservations for your clients before their trips. However, when the size of the reservation goes from a family of four to a group of 12 adults, unplanned restaurant outings turn from an exciting night out into long waits and hungry, grumpy travelers. Some restaurants may be unable to accommodate such a large party, while others may give you a heads up about an extra charge for serving large groups. If you’re going overseas, keep in mind that some establishments will be cash-only, too.
Plan a good amount of down time for the group
When traveling in a large group, it will be impossible for everyone to see and do everything they hoped to during their trip. One couple may be more adventurous and want to spend the afternoon hiking in nearby mountains. Another may be hoping to spend hours shopping their way through the city. As you plan the group’s trip, make sure you’re allowing for a large chunk of free time almost every day. That way each member of the group will be able to plan his or her own outings for the day before coming back together in the evening.