In my years of planning meetings and incentives for pharmaceutical companies, I’ve found that planning group travel requires attention to detail, creativity and the tenacity to do whatever it takes to keep a trip on track.
As a group’s travel planner, in addition to arranging everyone’s flights, hotels and other group activities, it is my job to think of everything that could go wrong so that nothing does. And when, as sometimes happens, I get thrown a curve ball, it’s up to me to straighten it out — hopefully without anyone even knowing I had to make any adjustments.
Once, I had planned out a luxury Mediterranean cruise for the top-producing sales people at a major pharmaceutical company. It was essential that these people be treated as VIPs since this whole trip was about letting them know how much their company valued them.
One of the highlights I’d planned was in Nice, France. The women would be dressing in long gowns, the men in tuxedos, and I had planned for them to step off our ship onto a red carpet that led to one of the fanciest spots on the Riviera for their farewell dinner. What I hadn’t planned on was the French government getting upset with the U.S. government and the harbormaster refusing to let the ship dock where we’d planned when we arrived that morning. Instead, he moved us to a spot at the edge of town. I was beside myself. I raced around all day making contingency plans — arranging for buses for my 83 guests, rethinking the red carpet, speaking with the hotel and everyone else I could think of.
Finally I went back to the ship's captain, begging him to do something. He went back to the harbormaster with a nice bottle of wine and talked him into letting us use the spot we’d reserved, and voila! So, the red carpet was rolled out as arranged, and the evening came off as planned. Best of all, when we returned, everyone talked about how this was the best trip they’d ever takem.
I have planned numerous family trips for multi-generational groups of up to 90 people, and I also understand what goes into planning executive retreats, corporate meetings and special interest group trips. Whatever the reason your group is traveling, I can work with you to incorporate special touches that help create an unforgettable event.