What Defines a Group?
Having just spent a weekend away with friends, I'm reminded why taking time out of my routine to see these friends is so important. We spent three days together at a friend's house in Portland for her baby shower. It was like a big slumber party. We ate, laughed, drank, and caught up on each other's lives. Such a great experience that a core group of us vowed to plan a vacation together each year to ensure we stay in touch (kids and husbands invited).
Groups are as diverse as the individuals in the group. My friend's baby shower included family members (her mom, sister, niece, grandmother), new friends (neighbors, co-workers, pals), high school friends, and the group I fell into: college friends. It was a slice of life; a family-friend combo reunion. Some of us traveled from other cities (by air, train, and car) while many lived nearby.
It didn't really matter (that much) what brought us together. It was the act of getting together that was significant. The baby shower was the icing on the cake (since there was a decadent cake served, we got our cake and ate it, too!). It was our excuse to celebrate friendships and family ties by congratulating our friend on her upcoming baby.
The weekend left me more grounded and self-assured. The whole trip put life in perspective, as only spending time with loved ones can.
The type A geek in me is excited to start planning now for our beach reunion (and I just might!). I figure, if I plan it, shouldn't I get the best room? You know, the one with the king bed and sweeping ocean view.
Groups of friends or extended family traveling together is a growing trend. There's even a catchy term for this trend called togethering. Yet there's no universal travel industry definition for groups. Airlines define a group as 10 or more people traveling on the same itinerary; hotels define a group as 10 or more rooms (which can hold 20 or more people). Cruise ships vary, too.
A group, as defined by TripHub, is anything outside the immediate nuclear family. This may be a group of five women taking a spa vacation to Phoenix, eight guys going skiing in Colorado, or a multi-generational family reunion with 50 participants. Essentially, if there's more than one payment mechanism (i.e. two different credit cards), it is a group. TripHub is re-defining group travel (for small leisure groups, that is) based on the way consumers actually travel.
Groups redefined: Today, the travel industry looks at groups as having the same airplane itinerary or block of hotel rooms. Yet if friends or family depart from different cities or at different times, even stay at different places (Jim might stay with his friend, while the rest rent rooms at various places) the travel industry doesn't count them as a group.
- Because travelers going on the same trip may leave at different times, depart from different airports or cities, and stay at different places upon arrival, this doesn't mean they aren't a group of friends or family vacationing together. TripHub allows groups flexibility to define their own trip by creating dates and sharing itineraries all on the same trip home page.
- Beyond blocks of hotel rooms and blocks of seats on a flight, there are many other unmet needs for groups planning trips such as tracking money owed for shared expenses, inviting people and getting RSVPs, sharing itinerary information, discussing hotel options, and other planning parts of trips. TripHub also helps solve these problems by offering tools to simplify the group travel planning process.
- Group discount myths exist. There are a number of factors that impact the availability of discounts when groups are traveling together or are staying in the same hotel. Do't assume that just getting the right size group together automatically entitles you to discounts. Look for a post on this topic soon.
Sound's fun. Do you have any recommendations for a great group who loves to get together, but has problems sleeping in the same room together? I come home so tired, but would never miss a trip because I love my friends company so much.
Posted by: Angel | Apr 17, 2006 at 09:13 PM
Good point. In my experience, traveling in groups presents issues when there are light sleepers vs. heavy sleepers (snoring), early risers vs. those who sleep in (extra noise in the morning by those up early), and the potential discomforts of not being in your own bed/home. Working things out ahead of time with the group is a good idea (to avoid hurt feelings for the snorers or early risers) and planning ahead with ear plugs, Tylenol PM, or separate rooms for certain people. Maybe an extra glasses of wine just before you doze off? Any other recommendations?
Posted by: Jocelyn Milici | Apr 18, 2006 at 10:18 AM
I also recently had a "getaway" with my girlfriends and continue to be reminded how much they mean to me. Sure there are small issues such as early risers vs. late risers, just like in a family, but these seem easily solveable.
Weekend-long (or longer) getaway slumber parties with long-time friends are better than any therapy or party among well-known celebrities. I'm glad to hear that group travel is on the rise as I am definitely planning more "slumber parties" with my friends!
Posted by: Jenny | Apr 18, 2006 at 01:29 PM