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Group Travel News

  • September 15, 2017 9:30 AM | Anonymous

    I remember when I started my first group travel business years ago while I was still working a full-time job.  A lot of my family and friends thought I was just planning trips as a hobby.  I became known as “the girl who does the trips.” That wasn’t what I wanted.  I wanted people to see my business as a full-fledged enterprise – you know?  I specifically remember one day when I was visiting my aunt, and she said, “so, how’s your little business going?”  And it was right there in that moment that I vowed that even though my business was little– and it was because just like most of you – it was just me doing everything by myself at my dining room table – no one would ever have that perception of me or my business ever again.  I wanted me and my business to be respected. At that moment, I decided that I needed to create a visual brand for my business and I started with creating a logo that I could use on business cards, my then up-and-coming website, and flyers that promoted my events.

    Over the years, I’ve have several opportunities to create new logos for each of my business endeavors… and of course, over the years, they have gotten better and better.

    For my current group travel business, Caribbean Mastermind Retreats, one of the first things I think you will notice in the logo is the colors.

    Okay, now let’s think about your logo.  This is really where you will start to develop the LOOK of your brand. Here, you can see where a lot of thought went into the Caribbean Mastermind Retreats logo.  The first thing you might notice is the colors.  Because the niche market is the Caribbean, I explained to the designer the importance of reflecting that in the color scheme.  So you can see how the orange sunset fades into the Caribbean blue water.  I also asked the designer to incorporate a light bulb in some way if he could, because is the symbol most recognized for the term “mastermind.”  He added the wave and palm trees inside of the lightbulb himself.  When working with designers, I try to give a little direction without infringing on their creativity because a lot of times, they are able to come up with some amazing ideas that we couldn’t have even imagined.  And if you can, try to get designs from at least two different designers because everyone’s level of creativity is different.

    Even when looking at the logo for our sister organization, the International Group Travel Agents Association (IGTAA), to some, it may look plain.  And it’s supposed to look plain because IGTAA is an organization that is focused on training and resources.  But if you look at it more closely, the blue that fades from light to dark in the letters symbolize the ocean and its great depth.  And the green quarter-sphere in the A that turns to yellow as it gets closer to the end symbolizes the earth and the sun.

    Developing your logo, in my opinion, really is the first step to developing the brand for your group travel business, or any business. Once you have your logo designed, you will start to get a better feel for your overall visual brand.

  • September 03, 2017 10:00 PM | Anonymous

    Record demand for the U.S. hotel industry has been well documented, but until now the shortcomings in group business have cast a slight pall over even the most optimistic observers. According to Tim Hart, executive vice president of business intelligence solutions for TravelClick, overcast skies are gone.

    “We’re seeing some healthy group growth now in terms of rate.” said Hart, whose company tracks advance bookings for hotel rooms. “In fact, it’s pretty much a good story in occupancy and average-daily-rate growth in each of the three major segments we track.

    Hart told attendees of the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference in Atlanta that his company projects room nights sold for group business will increase 5.1 percent, while ADR in the segment will grow 4.9 percent; room nights sold for transient business travel will be up 2.5 percent and ADR will rise 4.4 percent; room nights sold for transient leisure travel will increase 3.1 percent while ADR will jump 5.6 percent.

    “We’re encouraged by what‘s happening on group,” he said. “It has stopped being a drag and started contributing to strong ADR growth.”

    Courtesy of

  • August 03, 2017 7:34 PM | Anonymous

    The so-called Fyre Festival was a music festival scheduled to take place on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma over two weekends in April and May 2017. Organized by Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule as a luxury music festival to promote the Fyre music booking app, the event was promoted on Instagram by “social media influencers” like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Rataikowski, and other models.  Scheduled for two weekends in April and May, the event sold day tickets for $1,500, and VIP packages including airfare and luxury accommodations for $12,000. Customers were promised accommodations in “modern, eco-friendly, geodesic domes” and meals from celebrity chefs.  Unfortunately, when travelers arrived, they arrived to tent accommodations and meals that included cheese sandwiches and a side salad. Needless to say, there is now a class-action lawsuit pending against the organizers.

    As many of you know, before I started Caribbean Mastermind Retreats, my group travel business, On The Go, LLC, specialized in music festivals and sporting events such as this one. Not only did I take large groups of traveler to existing events, but I also chartered hotels, hired entertainment, and planned events of my own in the Caribbean. So, needless to say, I was shocked and appalled when I heard this story and couldn’t help to think about what I would have done if faced with this situation as a group travel planner.

    So, what can we all learn from this disaster??? A LOT! But I will only mention this one thing since it is one rule that I NEVER break… “Go Before You Know!” Because this was the first time this festival was held, I would have never sent a group to the Bahamas for this disaster. Now… I might have gone myself to check it out for future years, but I would have never sent a group. And unfortunately, if you plan your own events, as I often do, this scenario is going to make it extra hard to build client trust. So what can you do to ensure your even’t success? First things first, make sure you have event protection insurance as well as errors and omissions insurance. Second, Get all of the testimonials from past clients that you can get. Videos work best because your clients will see the authenticity in your past clients’ faces when they speak of your well-oiled machine (a.k.a., your group travel business.) And finally, if you live in a state where it is permitted, automatically include travel insurance in the cost of your group trips as added protection for your clients. If you can’t include it automatically, be sure to get a signed statement acknowledging your offer of travel insurance as well as their decline of acceptance, if they choose to pass it up.

  • January 18, 2013 9:42 PM | Anonymous

    Article by: Claudette Covey, TravelPulse

    After a dip in demand over the past couple of months, group occupancy is once again beginning to increase, according to data from the December 2012 TravelClickNorth American Hospitality Review (NAHR). When looking at the fourth quarter of 2012 through the third quarter of 2013, group demand has bounced back from being flat (down 0.1 percent) last month to being up 2.2 percent, year over year.

    “Based on TravelClick data, it appears that decline in group was temporary,” said Tim Hart, executive vice president, enterprise research and development, TravelClick. “However, we expect that some hoteliers may be incentivizing group bookings by keeping average daily rate (ADR) relatively flat. As we head into the New Year, there are opportunities for hoteliers to increase both ADR and occupancy in this critical segment.”

    Committed occupancy across all segments, for December 2012 through November 2013, is up 3.9 percent compared to a year ago. ADR is up 4.6 percent, compared to the same time period last year. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) is up 12.8 percent.

    The transient segment, individual business and leisure travelers, is still the driving force behind the rise in occupancy and ADR, despite the improvement of the group segment. Committed occupancy for this segment is up 8.9 percent and ADR is up 5.5 percent. When broken down further, committed occupancy for leisure travel is up 8.9 percent and business travel is up 9.4 percent, respectively. As for ADR, business and leisure are up 6.7 and 4.8 percent, respectively.

    For the fourth quarter of 2012, committed occupancy is up 3.7 percent and ADR is up 3.3 percent. For December specifically, all segments showed improvement compared to their performance in October and November. Committed occupancy was strong across all segments, up 8.1 percent from last year. ADR was up 4 percent, compared to the same time period last year and RevPar is up a significant 12.1 percent.

    While group led in committed occupancy in December, with an increase of 9.9 percent to transient’s 7.4 percent, ADR increase was driven by the transient segment, which is up 4.2 percent to group’s 3.5 percent.

    Committed occupancy across all segments is up 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013, which is driven by increases in demand in January and February. Primarily, transient bookings for the first quarter are up significantly, by 15.4 percent, over the same time last year. Overall, ADR for the first quarter is up 5.7 percent over the same time last year. The increase is driven by transient, which is up 8 percent. Group is up 1.4 percent year-over-year, which is a positive sign given the fact that while overall ADR was up in October and November, the group segment saw declines.

    The December NAHR looks at group sales commitments and individual reservations in the 25 major North American markets for hotel stays that are booked by Dec. 2, 2012, for the period of December 2012 to 2013.

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The International Group Travel Agents Association (IGTAA) is the premier group travel association providing training, resources, networking and certification opportunities to travel agents, group travel organizers, group travel planners, special event planners, travel industry suppliers, destinations
and other sellers of leisure group travel.

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