Groups are on my mind today. I’ve put together my fair share of wedding groups, from small (10 people) to large (100 people). Last year, I decided to try my hand in incentive group travel and I’m still not exactly sure what I think of the process. I started working with one prospective group in May 2009 and after five months of negotiations, I finally had a signed contract in my hands. The group is headed to the Mayan Riviera in May 2010. To say it hasn’t been a frustrating process would be a lie. The time and details that go into planning a trip for 150 people coming from around the country can be intimidating once you get your feet into it.
Regardless, I forged ahead with the planning and dealings like a trooper. As a one-woman show, it can be difficult to allocate enough time to adequately handle a group with many questions and individual travelers. While I have not done as well as I personally would have liked, I’ve chalked it up to a learning experience. In the past, my clients had been mostly honeymooners and families, so dealing with high level executives who know what they want and have been doing these types of groups for 20 some years, is a totally different ballgame.
I have never traveled with any of my wedding groups before; and I was a bit surprised when the group leader asked if I would travel down to the hotel two days early to ensure everything was ready for the group. Well, I guess I am traveling with them now. The other glitch they threw my way was that they want me to change my hat from travel consultant to meeting planner upon arrival. They are planning morning meetings, dinners, casino night, cocktail parties and tours—and want me to coordinate them all.
I am looking forward to this new venture and am working with some wonderful group coordinators to plan out the details. Once I get past this learning curve, I’ll have a better understanding of how all the details come together once the group arrives in resort. While this one may cost me a bit in terms of stress, I am sure that it will make be more prepared for the next one!
Comments to this article are welcomed and encouraged, please utilize the comment form below so we can all learn and interact with each other!