Try getting multiple friends or family together for dinner or an afternoon hike. It’s hard! What about a multi-day vacation? It’s hard enough just to gather the group, but then to be the one responsible for organizing the hotels, the transportation, the meals, the activities, the guides, etc….well, that can REALLY get overwhelming!
We often get initial inquiries from people excited to plan a private trip, but then the planning fizzles out. Why?
We asked Kit, a long-time Zephyr alumna, who successfully rallied her friends to join her on a private trip to Croatia with us last May. The brief interview with Kit below summarizes her experience as the group organizer for her 70th birthday trip with her longtime friends and provides four main take-aways for herding those cats, oops, I mean friends and family!
Question 1: What was the biggest obstacle in getting others to commit to an organized trip?
Kit summarized people’s hesitation to commit into three components:
- Unsure if it will fit into their schedule.
- Questioned if the price was right.
- Wondered if the trip was something they should do on their own.
Kit: “Of course, one’s (my) enthusiasm is often the selling point. At the age I am, I point out that who knows what the future will be, so let’s grab every opportunity that presents itself. I remind people that if they commit and something comes up or happens, they can cancel (yes, get travel insurance). Many don’t understand that there is fluidity to these decisions. And what’s the worst that can happen if you commit and then can’t go….you might lose some money. But in the big scheme of things, it’s only money.
I really had a hard time convincing several friends that an organized “tour” was the way to go. They felt they could do it all on their own and therefore save money. Well, that may be true, but I sold them on the fact that everything would be taken care of…accommodations, equipment rental, meals, transfers, etc. And because everything is taken care of, all we had to worry about was having fun!”
Take Away #1: The organizer’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the trip (what are you getting for your money?) can go a long way in convincing others to join.
Question 2: How did you decide on this trip (Croatia Multisport) and who did you invite?
Kit: “How fun to have a destination on your bucket list and then put a trip together to make this dream come true. My friend, Marilyn, and I talked about going to Croatia for several years and discussed the possibility with Zephyr a number of times. We were very careful about who we invited (there were definitely some friends that we knew would not fit). “
Take Away #2: Choose a destination and itinerary you are passionate about and realize this trip will not be for everyone.
Question 3: How did you communicate with the group?
Kit: “Phone and email. And then follow-up! At times, it was a bit exhausting.”
Take Away #3: It may take dozens of phone calls, emails or texts (use the communication style that works for each person) to keep the momentum going.
Question 4: What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of a private trip?
Kit: “Being able to choose our guide and select the participants is huge. Also, I was lucky that Zephyr let me help with some of the decisions regarding itinerary, accommodations, etc. The only disadvantage was the pressure of reaching the magic number of 10, which was the minimum for our trip to Croatia.”
Take Away #4: If the pressures of coordinating your group and following up with people sounds daunting, organizing a private tour may not be your thing. However, if you tend to be the “planner,” gathering everyone together can be extremely rewarding. Then you can all sit back and enjoy your time together doing something fun!