If you have ever been given the task of booking group ski holidays, whether it’s a group of your friends, family or a work trip, you will know all too well how frustrating and time consuming it can be.
Here is some advice and top tips to help make the process more bearable this season and where to find the best group ski holiday deal. Follow these and hopefully it should ease the pain.
How many people are going? The number is probably much higher when you are discussing it in the pub over a pint than the actual number that end up handing over the cash when it comes to booking group ski holidays. Make sure you get everyone’s contacts, then give a deadline for everyone to hand over the deposit for the holiday.
Deposits are generally only £130-£150 per person. Once you have a firm number you can start picking the right holiday. There is a huge difference in what’s available and for what price, depending on the group size. Its no good finding the perfect chalet holiday for 20 people, if only fifteen end up going. Those fifteen will end up paying for the empty spaces.
Where are you going?
Once you know how many people are going you need to know where is best to go. Find out what level of skier everyone is. There’s no point going to a resort packed with black runs and moguls, if some of the group are beginners. Some resorts are great for skiers but terrible for boarders. If you have a mixed group, pick a resort with a large and varied ski area, like the Three Valleys, or the Espace Killy.
Do you need a resort that’s lively? Make sure you can easily get to and from the resort centre bars, or you will have to all go out and come back at the same time in expensive taxis. You may just want to chill with your own friends and family in the chalet each night, in which case you don’t need to be close to the bars.
Where to stay?
Once you have narrowed down your resort choice, you want to think about your accommodation. Very popular now with groups are catered chalets, where you can book a private space just for your group and have your little home away from home. Most chalets come with cosy fireplaces in the living room, with sofas to relax in the evening over a glass of wine.
Chalets cater for a range of group sizes from six up to fifty and more. Chalets are also great for families with kids as they are safe and secure. The catered option is also convenient, as your chalet hosts will cook breakfast and dinner and ply you with complimentary wine, which does save money, as ski resort restaurant and bar prices can be high.
Ski apartments are the cheapest accommodation options, but make sure you fill all the beds, as you pay per apartment, so if you can get a group in a large three or four bedroom apartment, prices can be very reasonable. Of course you will have to cook and clean, so make sure everyone is willing to chip and do their bit.
If people in your group are flying from different UK airports that’s fine with most ski operators, although there may be supplements for some of the regional airports. It may be cheaper to stay with friends or family close to one airport and all travel together. Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester are the main ski departure airports. You can then book a minibus to the airport to save on taxi fares, or drive and split the petrol and parking costs.
If you are booking group ski holidays you may want to get super organised and set up a spreadsheet with all the information the tour operators will need. Get everyone’s full names and date of births. Do they ski or board and will they need ski hire, or lessons. What about dietary requirements? Its no good finding out someone has a specific allergy when you arrive at a chalet. You should get discounts when booking group ski holidays, depending on when you travel. Generally peak season dates over Christmas, New Year and half term are the only dates you might not.
You should also ask about any other deals, such as two-for-one lift passes, or offers on ski hire. If you can take advantage of deals when booking group ski holidays, it’s much better value and infinitely less hassle than arranging twenty peoples’ ski hire, lift passes and lessons on a Saturday afternoon when you arrive in resort, along with thousands of other holidaymakers.
Save all the hassle and lots of time and let your travel agent know what you need and they will find you the most suitable options, in the best resorts and with all the group deals. They can also source the best discounts and other special offers you will need, to ensure you get the best holiday. It’s always safer, easier and better value to go through an agent. You don’t pay any extra and they can check out all the major ski operators for you in one go and a lot of smaller ones you may not know about.
Make sure any agent you use is reputable and offers ATOL cover and UK travel industry consumer protection. Try www.travelaction.co.uk a TTA and ATOL bonded agent, who offer a fantastic personal service and great deals.