Whether you’re organising a company retreat, or flying a team out for an important conference, group travel booking can be daunting. Being responsible for that many people – their transport, hotels and duty of care – is no mean feat. Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of solid tips to follow if you’re in charge of the next group business travel booking.
How to organise and deliver smooth group business travel
So exactly do you book smooth and stress-free group business travel?
1 – Check if your TMC offers MICE services
First things first, you need to check whether or not your Travel Management Company offers MICE services. Standing for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events, this dedicated team specialises in group bookings for over ten people. It’s crucial that you use your MICE team where possible, as they’ll be able to help with group bookings and advise of the best hotels or route options for your travellers if you’re planning to transport a very large group.
2 – Take advantage of airline discounts for group flights
You might think that booking all your seats at once is the cheapest way to book flights for group business travel. Contrary to popular opinion, however, airlines don’t always offer discounts for group travel bookings. Because airlines fares are not fixed and can increase due to high levels of interest or repeat bookings, it can be more expensive to book flights for a group all at once.
This is why it’s key to involve dedicated flight booking teams who can help secure your seats and lower prices where possible. Speak to your TMC to check if they have a group flights bookings team who can advise you how to get the cheapest possible rate.
3 – Get the best rates for group hotel bookings
Hotel prices don’t tend to fluctuate as much as airline rates, which means that it’s generally easier to get discounts for group hotel bookings. Because hotel bookings may be less predictable than flight bookings, they can offer you discounts without worrying that they’re sacrificing a higher paying customer as a result.
As well as negotiating a lower room rate, you can also sometimes get access to extra benefits for your group hotel booking. You might be able to get room upgrades, free meals or free gym and swimming pool access. It’s worth asking your TMC to help you negotiate this – if you don’t ask, you won’t get!
4 – Avoid common group business travel booking mistakes
Someone once said that arranging a group business trip for a large team is like trying to herd a group of cats. We think there’s probably some truth in that! One of the most common problems when booking group travel is that with so many people on your itinerary, it’s likely that one or two will drop out. As rooms and flights are often non-refundable for large group bookings to secure a discount, it’s best to have another team member in-line as back up!
You also want to issue your team with an itinerary in advance of the trip. Make sure they’re aware of any documentation they will need to bring along and depending on your destination, making sure that they have enough months left on their passport.
So there you have it! We hope your next group business trip is a breeze.
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