Sarah Welton-Blake of SWB Consulting, says: “Consider allowances for some meals rather than hosting all meals. Neighbouring countries like Mauritius provide great value, with many hotels offering packages inclusive of drinks, conferencing and meals.”
Opting for local incentives really helps, says Gillian Hurford, manager of Superlative Incentives & Events. “‘Wow’ elements like a trip on Rovos Rail or a stay at a luxury game lodge can then be factored in.”
“One can do more in a destination where the exchange rate is favourable,” says Kathy Nel, Limex divisional executive head, “which is why the East is so popular.”
Dalene Oroni of Development Promotions says cruising is an amazing budget stretcher.
Top tips from the experts
- It’s crucial that corporates do site inspections for large group travel, says Ramon Geldenhuys of 360-Degrees Travel, “to ensure any cheaper accommodation options selected meet their expectations.”
- Low season is the best time to obtain a group fare, says Isla Moffett of Air Austral’s GSA. “The further in advance a booking is made the better the airfare should be.”
- Always make sure the decision-maker signs a contract that outlines all terms and conditions, such as allowed breakaway percentage, name change fees and number of passengers booked, says Mandy McEvoy of Club Travel Corporate. “A signed contract has saved me many times as clients can forget what they have asked of you. Never sign an airline contract on your client’s behalf. Another good tip is to apply to all airlines flying the route selected, as airlines offer very different rates to what you see on the GDS. You may think one airline is cheaper than another due to GDS rates but that’s often not the case when it comes to group fares.”
- Trafalgar’s Theresa Szejwallo says getting the destination choice “just right” is really important. “Organisers must do their homework on current trends, travel routes and costs. When sourcing multiple quotations, it’s important that organisers compare ‘apples with apples’. In most cases it’s less expensive to travel as a group. There are many inclusions on an itinerary that can’t be done as an individual or would be too expensive.”
- Cindy Williamson, XL Turners Travel consultant, says it’s important to book sports teams as a group to benefit from airline name change policies in case of player replacements due to injuries. Some airlines also offer an extra bag free for sporting equipment.
- Kirby Gordon of FlySafair says agents must adhere to payment timelines in the quotation, otherwise bookings can lapse and auto-cancel, requiring a fresh quote. “Flexibility also helps. We can help groups find cheaper flights if they can be flexible. If groups take only hand luggage on a weekend retreat they can also save money.
- Greg Taylor, Pure Sport/Pure Skiing gm, says when booking sports or skiing packages, organisers must match client needs with the correct event, destination and budget; ensure the itinerary suits all travellers and there’s a good balance between group activities and individual leisure time.