Strength in numbers

Booking for a large number of travellers gives you an advantage when it comes to pricing trips as suppliers might be open to discounting on the basis of large volumes.

Ross Volk, md of MSC Cruises South Africa, says groups guarantee a high number of guests with just one booking, which offers cost benefits for suppliers and entails much less hassle. “They are highly sought after,” he adds.

“The greater the group, the more buying power you have,” says team leader for FCM Event’s Samuel Herman. But he adds that this isn’t necessarily an advantage when dealing with airlines, but a plus when dealing with ground handlers and hotels.


Budget upfront


When it comes to negotiating with suppliers, Martine Sanderson, group sales manager for World Leisure Holidays says budget is important. “Managing expectations and budgets is such a critical part of the negotiation process with both suppliers and the client. We won’t normally enter into negotiation with suppliers until we have a budget. If we don’t have a budget that is clearly defined, it becomes a nightmare to put packages together,” she explains.


The right timing


To secure the best price for your clients, Jose Emilio Garcia, portfolio brand manager in South Africa for Iberia, says its important confirm the group bookings well in advance and to book out of the high season. “November and February would be a very good period to organise this kind of trip,” he adds.

David Sand, ceo of Uwin Iwin Incentives, says: “Through a network of trusted suppliers, agents can gain more negotiating power, however incentive travel is not all about the cost because of the expectations of clients to deliver top quality.”