Picture this: standing in the middle of the vast Namibian desert, surrounded by towering dunes that seem to stretch on forever. The night is alive with energy as the party continues under the starry African sky. Sounds incredible, right? Now, imagine trying to coax a partygoer onto a bus in the middle of nowhere while they're still in full-on party mode. Yes, that was me, and let me tell you, it was quite the challenge!
Organising travel for large groups requires careful coordination, a good sense of humour, and thinking on your feet. Here’s a snapshot of what happens behind the scenes when you organise a corporate team getaway.
Setting the stage: planning months in advance
Ever had to ensure CEOs make it onto a charter flight? It's not as easy as it sounds, especially when they're mingling with employees and the airport is buzzing with activity. For this team getaway, we had two different flights. To ensure everyone got to the right place, I had to set up a banner at the airport to direct everyone. After all, there's no room for mix-ups or uncertainties when dealing with high-level executives.
One of the key lessons I've learned is that meticulous planning is the secret recipe to successful group travel events. We typically start the planning process four months in advance, ensuring every detail is considered. It’s even better when you can start a year in advance.
The devil in the details: From room inspections to snack preferences
One valuable lesson I've learned is to pay attention to the details. During a site inspection, I make it a point to check every room to ensure it's up to scratch. It might sound like a small thing, but it can make a world of difference in guest satisfaction.
Another crucial detail is catering to everyone's preferences. Snacks, for example, may seem insignificant, but they can make or break an event. I remember one incident where the snacks served were miniscule, leaving some guests hungry. Since then, we've made it a priority to clarify every aspect of catering before the event.
When it comes to group bookings, you've got to be ready for anything. I've learned to anticipate potential issues and implement solutions before they become full-blown crises. The key is staying one step ahead.
After all, it is easy to make business travel mistakes when booking travel for large groups.
CEO security and the art of timing
Speaking of attention to detail, duty of care is one aspect that leaves no space for mistakes. It’s important to dot your i's and cross your t’s to ensure all travellers are safe.
When the entire management team travels, it's advisable to have them take separate flights for security purposes. This requires careful coordination of their travel arrangements.
Wheeling dealing with suppliers
Behind every successful getaway is a team of suppliers – airlines, hotels, tour operators, and transfer services. Building strong relationships with these partners is the secret to ensuring a seamless experience for our participants.
Booking business travel for groups and incentives truly requires specialist expertise.
The rewards of event planning
If you're considering planning a group event or getaway, my advice is simple: go for it! The challenges are part of the adventure, and the memories you'll create will last a lifetime.
For some more concrete tips:
- Start planning at least six months in advance - venues and vendors book up quickly!
- Send guests detailed itineraries, flight info, packing lists, etc., in advance. Clear communication prevents confusion.
- Book separate flights for upper management – smart, just in case!
- Have someone from the travel agency on-site for smooth coordination and rapid response if issues arise.
- Confirm all vendor details - food, beverage, activities - multiple times. Don't assume anything!
- Personally inspect rooms, venues, transportation, etc., ahead of time to catch any problems.
- Remain flexible - keep contact info handy and be ready to make last-minute changes if needed.
While event planning is often demanding, the rewards are worth it. I've had the privilege of organising incredible team-building events, like this one in the Namibian desert. Despite the challenges, nothing beats the feeling of success and seeing the joy on participants' faces.
It's also incredibly gratifying to know that the participants will remember your event for years to come. They might forget the hiccups, but they'll always remember the magic and adventure.
Yours in travel,
Your Dedicated Travel Manager