Hello, Group Travel! What’s New with You?

After an abrupt departure from the travel scene in 2020, group excursions are back! And, after two years of corporate and leisure travel lovers separated from their favorite known and unknown destinations, no one is happier about it than they are. Except for maybe our group travel planning experts.

From company-wide and sales incentive trips to bringing the family back together after a couple of years apart, we’re sharing our insights on what’s new in group travel and inspiration for your next adventure. Based on what we’re seeing and planning, the sky’s the limit, literally. (Note: CIRE Travel can arrange an interplanetary itinerary via Virgin Galactic.)

Corporate Travel: Incentives, Inspiration, Team Building and Rewards
Of all the ways company executives try to motivate employees, boost performance and encourage professional and personal wellness, incentive trips are at the top the list in overall effectiveness. For company owners and executives to achieve their outcomes, incentive trips should be tied to a goal, such as:

  • Boosting employee engagement and loyalty
  • Reaching a production or sales goal
  • Inspire group familiarity, and thus collaboration/teamwork

While none of the above goals are particularly groundbreaking, the thought process behind them has changed. What has been newsworthy are the great resignation, quiet quitting, staffing shortages, employee retention and general disassociation afflicting the workforce. All are problematic for corporate leaders, but understandable since employees have worked from home, have hybrid schedules or work so remotely they’ve never been eye to eye with their colleagues.

Today’s company-wide incentive trips “feel” different than corporate travel days of old. Our group travel planners are arranging flights for hundreds of employees who are scattered around the world. Creating backup plans for travelers or their plus-ones who might test positive for COVID at the last minute. Arranging a menu of activities that appeal to all kinds of travelers. And, booking luxury resorts renowned for catering to specific groups’ special needs.

Unplugging from the Digital World
CIRE Travel recently planned a corporate incentive trip for a digital marketing agency. Three hundred employees and their plus-ones enjoyed an all-expenses paid, four-day holiday at an exclusive, all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico for reaching the agency’s sales mark. Reflecting the agency’s culture, when one of the 300 couldn’t go last minute (COVID positive), executives relied on CIRE to ensure they could travel at a later date. They’re already planning the next trip for 2025 and opening it up to 800 employees and their plus-ones from around the world.

The goal for the trip was more than celebrating a sales milestone. Agency executives see company-wide trips as a way to incentivize reaching longer-term goals, as well as increase employee retention rates.

Inspiring Elevated Thinking
A leader in the website security industry came to CIRE Travel after executives decided to change things up. In the past, they held their corporate off-site retreat around an industry conference. Not this year. They wanted a destination far from their annual conference destination—one that was “uplifting, inspirational, a place to elevate thinking.” 

Such a curated experience for select staff and their plus-ones arriving from global destinations demands CIRE’s expertise. Our group travel planners recommended Banff, Canada, an epitome of this client’s locale preference. Our corporate travel planners arranged all transportation, a welcome dinner, plenty of outdoorsy activities and built in leisure time.

Building Team Connections Through Shared Experiences
A wine distributor combined rewarding top-performing sales people with team building through shared experiences. CIRE’s group travel planners arranged for this group to traverse Italy and Germany, exploring wineries to better understand each one’s vintages and history, plus build connections among others in the company.

A council that works in the government space knew exactly where they wanted 20 members and their plus-ones to go—Italy. However, since federal, state and council funds were involved, CIRE’s organizational skills came in handy and ensured each line item was categorized correctly from three separate budgets.

When a hurricane disrupts the team spirit, like it did for a company that had 2 groups traveling, CIRE’s group travel planning experts pivoted in one day to bring them together. Group A and Group B were enjoying two days as separate groups and were to converge for two days. When a hurricane was going to interrupt the meeting between the two, CIRE saved the day with less than a day’s notice and changed the meeting destination to Ashville. With our team rerouting flights, arranging new accommodations and activities, the corporate off-site was a success despite the storm.

And, sometimes you just need airline experts with connections who have your back. For example, a phone company relied on CIRE for “air support” for their employees’ incentive trips.

Traveling is Good for the Soul
One of the most exciting trends in corporate travel is company-paid trips for employees. Our travel planners are fulfilling requests for travel gift cards or prepaid vacations for employees. We’re seeing company leaders invest anywhere from $1,800 to $20,000 for their employees to travel during their paid time off with the intent of improving quality of life and overall well-being.

Whether the gift of travel is given to mark an important professional milestone, an anniversary year with the company or as an employee perk, traveling is good for the soul. Getting out of your environment and exploring is good for the soul, and far easier to do when a vacation is fully or partly paid for by an employer.

READ MORE ABOUT GROUP TRAVEL

Group & Family Leisure Travel: Reuniting Feels So Good
The pandemic taught us that it’s more important than ever to travel… take the trip with friends and family… create memories. Now that travel restrictions are lifted, our group leisure travel planners are busy curating trips of a lifetime. Some destinations and itineraries are for those catching up on their postponed travel bucket lists. Others are taking the opportunity to celebrate “togetherness.”

Multigenerational travel is also popular after a few years of grandparents, aunts, uncles and the kids being apart. Yet, between inflation, the uncertainties of ravelers getting sick and hiccups with airlines, group leisure travelers want the guidance and support of group travel experts who handle the cancellations, modifications and re-bookings.

The pandemic made group travelers more appreciative of purposeful destinations, be they domestic or international. CIRE’s group travel planners help friends and families pinpoint the perfect destination with activities for all ages. The trend is to visit locations for cultural immersion. We referenced an interplanetary itinerary with Virgin Galactic above, and while no one has taken us up on it, yet,  our travel planners are suggesting dream trip destinations like the Antarctica and Australia. Get inspiration for your travel destination via our blog.

CIRE Travel is a full-service travel agency headquartered in New York, NY.  Our expert team supports corporate and leisure group travel clients across the country and around the world.


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