The first rule of group holiday bookings is to book early. Not only will this give you the greatest choice of accommodation and location, it also usually means that you get the best deals. You may also be able to negotiate group discounts on everything from travel and equipment hire to eating out, so it’s worth checking before you book.
10 tips for the lead planner of group holidays
Organising a group holiday can be a challenging task, particularly if you’re trying to sort out a skiing trip. But with our guide to group holiday bookings you’ll be taking to the slopes with everything in hand and nothing to worry about.
When considering how to plan a group holiday you’ll need to decide how much you can all afford to spend. Since some people will have more money than others it’s important that everyone is happy with the choice of accommodation and destination, so don't do anything until you’ve found out how much people want to pay. Once you know this, you can draw up a list of choices.
While some of you may be happy tearing down the black runs, others might feel a bit more comfortable on the nursery slopes, so get an idea of how experienced everyone in your group is before deciding on the best place to go. If you have a range of abilities then consider resorts such as Les Arcs or Val Thorens, both of which have a huge number of runs that will satisfy the most daring – or cautious – of skiers.
If anyone in your group is going skiing for the first time, book a session or two on a dry slope at home for you all before going away. It’ll allow the newbies to learn the basics before hitting the real slopes, while the more experienced skiers will get a chance to brush up on their skills.
Going on an all-inclusive ski holiday means that everything from your airport transfers to your lift passes (if you book a Club Med ski holiday) will be taken care of, as well as your ski hire and meals. There’s no frantic ringing around for last-minute equipment, no worrying which restaurants can seat you all at the same table – just plenty of time for you to relax and enjoy being with your friends and family.
Club Med created the first of its kind bespoke group booking tool for customers and travel agents booking a ski group holiday from 8 people or more. Club Med will do the work for them, taking away the stress of doing hours of research, by providing the best tailored deals that suit the whole group based on the preferences they submitted on the booking tool.
Once everything is booked, create an online planner that everyone can access – somewhere to hold all the booking details and information. Include an itinerary that shows where you all need to be and when, as well as details of what everyone needs to pay and the account information of who they need to pay it to. There are plenty of free file-sharing sites available but some of the simplest are Google Docs or Dropbox. File-sharing sites are also great for collecting everyone’s pictures at the end of the holiday so you can relive the best moments.
Make sure everyone in your group has everyone else’s phone number and set up a WhatsApp group so that you all know what’s going on. There’s nothing worse than being left behind on a day’s skiing or a big night out, so ensure that everyone communicates regularly and knows where everyone else is.
If you’re planning on eating out, taking excursions or spending a lot of time in the local bars together, it’s a good idea to create a kitty and nominate one person to look after it. Not only does it prevent arguments about who’s spent more, but it takes away the headache of constantly splitting bills.
Depending on your collective tastes (fast food or haute cuisine?) gather the same amount from everyone at the start of the holiday and dip into this every time you’re all out together. Of course, if someone doesn’t drink or prefers to take a packed lunch up the slopes, you should adjust the amount they contribute. And in the unlikely event that there’s some money left at the end of the holiday, use it for a group treat!.
It’s easy to slip into organiser mode throughout your trip and obsess over creating the perfect holiday for everyone. But take a step back from time to time and remember that it’s your holiday too – you don’t need to be sorting out every little problem. If you have kids, take advantage of the large pool of potential babysitters and kids clubs and take some time for yourself to relax and unwind.
Organising a group holiday is hard work and your efforts should be rewarded. It’s likely that your group will give you a collective pat on the back and a drink or three at the end of the holiday. But even if they do, congratulate yourself with a treat such as a spa treatment to go with the deep satisfaction of providing your friends and family with a memorable time. It really couldn’t have happened without you.
For a hassle-free group holiday, check out the all-inclusive Club Med ski holidays and let us take care of everything.