Maybe you've got your heart set on a destination wedding...
Maybe you're part of a club or society, you all share a similar interest you'd care to explore it while enjoying an exotic location...
Maybe your school or workplace needs a bit of team building or reward for a job well done...
Maybe you've just got a big family and you want to cruise together!
It can really be a case of if you build it, they will come - but you might also notice that it can be difficult to get the ball rolling when booking more than 6-8 passengers.
What constitutes a group?
A typical travel booking might involve a flight and a place to stay or a stateroom on a cruise ship.
For simplicity's sake, let's break the two components down to a Land (or Cruise) portion and an Air portion.
The Air portion representing your flight (obviously!) and the Land / Cruise portion representing your place to sleep and the opportunity to do some activities.
It's a simple matter of practicality, but also representative of the fact that almost no tour companies or hoteliers own and operate an airline or vice versa - the outlier would have been the Virgin group of companies when they launch their Virgin Voyages some time from now.
However, not only will you have to wait until 2020 to get on board, but they've sold off their US-based airline to Alaskan Air, which promptly re-branded the whole line on the 25th of April this year anyway...
Each of the entities, Land / Cruise and Air, will have their own rules regarding what does or does not constitute a group - and this can even change based on the time of year or select departures, route or itinerary, that kind of thing.
It's all a bit volatile!
Suffice to say that anything meeting or exceeding 10 passengers or 8 staterooms has a very good chance of qualifying as a Group Booking.
What's special about a Group Booking?
If you've ever tried to arrange a few friends and family to enjoy a trip together, you'll probably have noticed that the radio box on most web-based booking portals only offers options of up to 8 passengers.
Sometimes 6, sometimes 9 for some reason... but you get the point, it's hard to have an algorithm guide you through such a large booking.
If you want to schedule more than that, you're going to want to talk to a human.
The reason you need help with this
If you're booking an all-inclusive vacation, think of the plane (Air) as a bottle-neck. There may be 150 rooms available at your intended hotel, but there aren't 300 available seats on the plane.
Other people from your point of departure will join you on board and fly off to the same destination, some of whom may catch another flight elsewhere or may be staying at another resort.
But there are more flights available with different airlines, I don't understand
A packaged vacation will always be tied to the supplier offering a specific package, that means they may have an exclusive contract to offer a certain price point for seats.
Those seats also have a rapidly consumed inventory which strongly affects the price per passenger booked! More on this below (keep reading!)
Further, the Land or Cruise portion books out at a different period of time in advance. If you've booked a cruise in the last 6 months you may have noticed that many itineraries only feature availability in 2019 or beyond!
This mix of available places to stay tied with available means to get there results in a bit of chaos and some stiff competition.
Welcome the competition
A booking of 10 or more guests is indeed a welcome source of business for any travel supplier, this means there is often some competition to offer out more in order to secure the business.
You'll see a pattern emerging when I now describe that the more can mean different things to different suppliers, select itineraries, or again, even the same itinerary but in different times of the year.
Future travel credit, complimentary seat selection, welcome gifts, selection of fine wines in your stateroom, and the all-mighty Tour Conductor Credit are all examples of items we've seen just in the last 6 weeks when reviewing Group Travel itineraries.
Group Travel bonuses can sometimes even be combined with other promotions!
The big one: The Tour Conductor Credit
Think of it like you are being compensated for your efforts in recruiting and securing interest in the group's members and being a sort of point of contact for communications among your family, friends, or colleagues.
Often among the most sought after perks of booking a Group Travel itinerary with a travel professional is the TC Credit.
Again, this can vary in the amount credited and the qualifying terms, but you may find that by coordinating the group you are compensated with a complimentary room or even a whole complimentary vacation - bring enough people along and there may be more free rooms to share!
Your trip might look more expensive, but the average passenger price will be lower
Most often, an averaged savings is the biggest single benefit, but it can sometimes be difficult to perceive.
This savings arises as the laws of Supply and Demand act to drive prices up for successive passengers. By making a Group Travel booking, you'll have secured a price for each passenger and protected everyone from any volatility.
For example, you and 9 friends want to enjoy a week away in sunny Mexico. Your friend finds a travel deal for $x per person and suggests you book it. Everyone agrees and, one by one, pairs of people make their booking...
But there are only so many rooms in the hotel available and there are only so many seats on the plane to get you there (and back)!
Secure both price and availability to go with those perks!
This means that with each person making a booking, the available inventory decreases.
The price may rise accordingly with the demand, but you will likely find that the rooms or even seat categories disappear from the inventory altogether.
This is fine if you're the first person to book, maybe even the second or third, but as you approach the 8th through 10th passenger and beyond, the price will have significantly increased for their separate booking - possibly even causing them to rethink the whole trip.
Your Group Travel booking should secure a price that is evenly distributed and will be less expensive for those who might have otherwise not confirmed until a later date - so your first guests might indeed pay a bit more than the original $x per person your friend found, but that booking wasn't a fair representation of the whole group as only the first few passengers would have secured that price!
Get maximum participation and create maximum memories
You're travelling with your group to make some incredible memories together, the stars only align for so many occasions where everyone can be find the time off from their responsibilities and the finances to participate - give your group the best chance by speaking to a professional today about your next activity!