Have Friends, Will Travel

Did you know that with sometimes as little as five hotel rooms you can request a special group rate? And with five or more rooms, you may also receive free upgrades, special rates on hotel services, resort credits and private check-ins?

Did you know that with as few as 8 double occupancy staterooms on a cruise, your group can qualify for special amenities on board such as on board credit, wine and/or special treats delivered to your stateroom, and  private group wine tastings, just to name a few? Larger groups may even receive a free cocktail party. You can also work with a tour company to arrange a private group tour or shore excursion.

Group travel ideas include girl’s getaways, family reunions, high school and college reunions, anniversary celebrations, religious groups, milestone birthday celebrations, hobby and social clubs and even fundraisers.

Tips on Planning a Group:

  1. Plan early. Hotels and ships fill up quickly during popular travel months like spring break and summer vacations. For the best variety of options, you should reserve your space at least nine months in advance.
  2. Have some flexibility on dates. Often if you can travel a week or two earlier or later, you can get more value and better rates. Cruise lines offer varying amenities for groups that is based solely on the sail date. With a little flexibility you get a lot more bang for your buck.
  3. Know what you want to get out of this group trip. Is it strictly for fun and relaxing? Is it an educational trip? Is it a certain area your family wants to visit to honor their heritage? Knowing what everyone’s desires are at the onset make it much easier to plan a successful trip and keep everyone happy.
  4. Know where everyone in your group will be flying from. Often with as little as ten passengers, airlines will give you a group contracted rate. Or you can work with a vendor that offers bundled vacation packages if you are staying at a resort.
  5. Make sure you know the cancellation and penalty charges. Nothing is worse than not being aware of when that cancellation date is before you start accruing penalty charges.
  6. It’s all in the details. Double check your dates, the passenger names, where people are flying from/to. Missing the tiniest detail could result in some stiff change penalties.

Perhaps my biggest piece of advice on groups – call a travel agent! Chances are your travel agent knows the best vendors to work with when dealing with groups and they know all the ins and outs. Not to mention your travel agent probably has some leverage with their vendors and will use it to benefit your group. A travel agent also knows which resorts and/or cruise lines are offering group specials.

Our specialty is groups.  We would love to help you plan your next group vacation. Visit our website at www.takeoffandgo.com or call us at 816-209-4573 for more information.

Happy travels!

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