“Hey, let’s all pay a bunch of money to go have a terrible time in the mountains,” said by no one…ever.
We want it to be a great success, right? Sure you do!
Here are three tips to help you and your crew have the time of your lives while avoiding the common traps that lead to a trip that’s “just okay.”
1. Be Prepared for anything
It’s rare for a group trip to go exactly as planned.
That’s because there are an enormous amount of variables involved in creating group ski packages – from unpredictable weather to delayed flights to over-booked resorts…the number of things can go wrong is almost innumerable. In essence, group trips are a lot like technology.
More moving parts = more complexity = more potential problems.
The only solution is to anticipate these problems before they arise as best you can. While it’s impossible to plan for everything, it is entirely possible to improve your ability to deal with the unexpected.
Be methodical about this. Go step-by-step in your itinerary and consider what potential issues might arise for each and every item. Then include reasonable game plans/alternatives for those items in the event something goes awry.
2. Travel Light, Travel by Motorcoach
This is something we all know to be helpful, yet so few of us seem to actually do! Yes, Winter can be the most challenging time of year to lighten your luggage. So many layers! So much gear!
Still, if you want to minimize the hassle you and your group experience on your trip, keep your travel items to a minimum. For example, things can get pretty crazy when your trip goers are trying to keep tabs on their luggage while loading onto a charter bus outside in the snow.
Here are some things I recommend you leave at home when traveling with a large group:
3. Know Your Group
A truly memorable group ski trip includes activities beyond just skiing or snowboarding.
This can be difficult for group leaders to remember since they are often the biggest powder enthusiasts within their group. From my experience traveling over 100,000 people over the years, there are almost always people within each group that are more excited about the mountain experience than they are the skiing experience. These people want to take in all the resort has to offer.
This means you’ve got to know what they’re into. What activities do they like? Where do they expect to be located within the resort? What are the top three things they’d like to do on the trip besides skiing?
Put together a list of questions like the ones above and get answers from your group.
Pro Tip: If your group is small enough, just contact them personally. If you’ve got a larger group, consider using survey software.
It can’t be said enough about researching ski resorts in advance. All ski resorts are not created equal…especially when it comes to group travel. In fact, depending on the size of your group, many resorts may not even have enough lodging or resources to accommodate you.
You’ve got to methodically research ski resorts and ski areas several months, if not a year, in advance of your trip. Compiling a list of preferred resorts and comparing them to the interests of your group (as discussed above) is a great first step.
Whatever you do, do not assume anything. Don’t assume that your favorite ski resort is the best choice for your group. And, don’t assume that all ski resorts have the same lodging, amenities, activities, etc.
A little research upfront will deliver happy trip goers… pretty much guaranteed, but you certainly can’t do it all on your own.
You’ll want to get help. The fact is, planning a group ski trip is extremely exhausting work (if it wasn’t, SkiSync wouldn’t exist)! Staple tasks like travel logistics, payment collection, resort/lodging selection, rate negotiations and other necessary activities take time and expertise. There are specialized travel companies out there, like ours, who’ve built their business upon creating wonderful vacation experiences for ski groups. Perhaps most importantly, some of these companies have amassed high enough volumes of travelers, allowing them to obtain better pricing than what’s found online or direct through resorts.
Getting the right help is not only a time and energy saver but a money saver too.