Booking group business travel can be like herding a flock of sheep, without a sheepdog. Getting everyone to co-operate is a considerable challenge. PAs and Executive Assistants tell us that it’s the one part of the job that they dislike doing, as it’s so stressful, especially when they are dealing with staff overseas and across different time zones.
We have been dealing with Group Business Travel for over 25 years and have picked up some useful tips on ways to reduce time-wastage and, most importantly, stress and money.
Follow our tips below:
Get all travel details early
If you are using a TMC, they should already have passenger details stored, such as passport name, date of birth, APIS, loyalty number and seat preferences. We will then hold the seats early, to ensure availability and a reasonable price. If you don’t use a Travel Management Company, it is best to get these details as soon as possible to ensure that you can get availability for the whole group on the same flight. Also, the earlier you book, the better the price.
Different airlines have different rules for group bookings
Different airlines have different rules and pricing, with regards to booking group travel. You can spend a lot of time trawling through this information, which is not necessary. A TMC can quickly tell you which airline will be the best option for your particular trip. For instance, some airlines require you to check-in at the same time and fly together, whereas others are happy for you to check-in at different times and be split across separate flights. A good TMC will give you the vital information on each airline so you can make your decision, in accordance with your group’s travel requirements.
How much does group travel cost?
You may find that the cost of group travel is higher per person than the prices you see online. For example, an individual ticket to Frankfurt may cost £150, whereas the group travel quote is £190 per person. The reason for this is that the airline will quote based on the average cost of all seats needed. Airlines tend to sell flight seats at different fare levels. When a flight is first released, the first seats will be sold at the lowest fare but, as the departure date gets closer and the flight starts to fill up, the price will rise.
Is it best I book the seats separate online?
The problem with doing this is you cannot see the full availability for all passengers. You may be able to secure a low fare for the first ten passengers but, once booked, you will likely find that the price has increased markedly for the remaining passengers or, worse still, the flight may have sold out. It’s always better to either use a Travel Management Company as they can see how many seats are available in each fare level and give you an accurate total group quote.
Does group booking give you more flexibility?
When booking a group, flexibility can be essential. Invariably, changes to travel plans occur, passengers provide incorrect names or members of the group need to be changed or removed altogether.
If you book the flights, independently, you are committed to specific dates and times and name changes are rarely permitted. Group Travel booked with a TMC gives you the flexibility to change at least 10 per cent of the group, generally up to one month before they are due to travel.
Group booking for hotels
Planning a hotel is just as important as planning the flights. Once you have decided on the hotels, you then need to contact them and negotiate a price for that group. TMCs can do this on your behalf and, as we have pre-negotiated group rates, we can often provide a cheaper rate. If you are not sure which hotels are the best for group rates, we can also advise on this.
If you are planning a group booking and would like some advice or support on how to book the trip, or need an experienced TMC to negotiate rates with airlines and hotels, why not give us a try?
We have booked many conferences and group trips and companies that use us invariably return to book their next group event.
Contact us now for a non-obligatory quote.