Today we’ll discuss booking groups to Hawaii. First off , what defines a group? In most cases a group consists of 12 or more people. Smaller groups are considered to have at least eight people but with smaller groups there’s really no advantage price wise if you have a smaller group. Start planning your group early; Give yourself plenty of time. Once everything has been set and approved you should make the reservation as soon as possible. Moat groups start making their reservations a year in advance just to make sure they have everything set and secure.
You’ll all need is a group leader. This person will be responsible for creating the name list and also communicating with all the people who will be traveling. Give this person some incentive for taking on this responsibility, it’s a tough job!! The group leader should receive a free room or a free ticket or both. It’s also helpful to have a great travel agent on your side who can take some of the burden of the group leader away. The leader should understand the needs of all of the people who are traveling and what they expect out of the vacation. A good travel agent located in Hawaii can help you formulate the right questions to ask the people in your group.
Next, you’ll need to consider airfare. If you have 12 people but they’re all coming from different destinations the group won’t be eligible for group airfare. In the case of smaller groups it makes sense to just treat the bookings individually. Keep in mind you must meet a minimum requirement to be eligible for group airfare. If you fall below the minimum amount the price is going to change to the published airfare price, which is a lot higher. So while the airlines may offer you a price for 12 people I would not try for group airfare unless you have a minimum of 15 people. That’s why we recommend that if you have a larger group of 50 or more it’s helpful to be a little bit flexible with arrival times because that can save you money.
Airlines sell their tickets based on classes of fare so an airplane with 300 seats may not have the same price available for everyone in your group. Therefore, if you are flexible with times you’re more likely to get cheaper airfares. It’s also helpful because you can stagger the arrival and move the group a little more easily. Airfare for groups can be very tricky so it’s always best to plan in advance. Most the time to be paying a small deposit which will be refundable up until a certain date, so it’s recommended that you lock in that airfare as soon as possible.
Make sure that you choose the right accommodations. Some people like rooms with kitchens others prefer hotel amenities such as room service and restaurants and spas. Chances are you won’t be able to please everyone but if you find the right property that has multiple room categories you can get pretty close. In pricing out accommodations you’ll want to get prices for single, double, triple and quad. Of course the more people in the room with the less the overall price becomes. With this information you can get an accurate account of how many rooms you’ll need. Very often when booking a group with a hotel direct you will be required to block rooms. Blocking rooms means you must guarantee that you have filled those rooms and in exchange you get a reduced rate. Sometimes this is very difficult for individuals to do that’s why it’s helpful to use a travel company . They already have reduced rates with the hotels and are blocking substantial space in advance already so he won’t have the pressure of coming up with large sums of money to block rooms.
Choosing an island
For the most part we recommend Oahu especially for larger groups. There are more choices for hotels and better transportation options. Additionally, if it’s a really large group and meeting space is required Oahu has many venues to choose from so you have a better opportunity for shopping the best deal. If Oahu is not an option, then Maui is the next choice. It will surely be more expensive but large groups are certainly doable on Maui. Sometimes we get groups that would like to do more than one island which is also feasible but it will be more expensive and has challenges for large group movements.
One of the biggest concerns for groups is what to do about meals. Most groups are spending between five and seven days here in the islands. There’s several ways to handle meals but the easiest way is to choose a hotel that has a breakfast program. It’s a very large group sometimes that’s not feasible then you will need catered meals. We have done both small and large group and because local network of contacts we can plan for just about anything. This is another reason why it’s best to use a travel agent in the destination you’re planning your group travel because they’re going to have resources that mainland travel agents simply do not have.