There are many important decisions when planning your next President's Club but location might be the most important. After a few years in the Caribbean and Mexico, attendees might be ready for a change of scenery and the opportunity to explore Europe locations. It's important to administer feedback surveys following each event that include a question allowing attendees to type in their preferred future President's Club trip locations.
You might ask yourself where do I start in terms of planning your first European adventure so we provided a few tips to help.
First and most importantly, narrow down your location based on airlift, or even start with a list of 3-4 locations. Do not just look at direct flights as those direct flights could bring you to a much higher cost. You want to find locations with affordable airlift and potential international discount carriers. For example, Amsterdam airport has direct flights from all over the world, but most are on higher budget airlines. So the airlift at first look might seem perfect however when you run the budget numbers you might find that flying attendees on the direct flights won’t allow you to stay within budget. Compare this to locations like Barcelona, London, and Lisbon. These locations have direct flights on low cost carriers, ie Norwegian Air, Iberia, Tap Portugal or even Sata, which make staying in budget more likely.
Second, narrow down hotel options within your preferred location. In general hotels are more boutique than you will find in the US so finding larger properties in the heart of a location can be a little tricky. We like to work with hotels that have a local feel. One example of this is the Hotel Majestic in Barcelona, located right in the heart of the cultural area of Barcelona. Companies can easily go with the popular resort option of the Ritz-Carlton but we recommend stepping outside that comfort zone and looking for an option within the heart of the city. The Hotel Majestic is a family owned 5 star property that provides white glove service with amazing rooftop views of Barcelona’s most iconic sites. You will leave Barcelona feeling as though you had a true authentic experience.
Third, finalize budget. This is always the tricky part. Unfortunately we have found DMC’s in Europe to be expensive and lacking detail. So one way to counteract this and save on budget is to head out on a site visit to the final destination and spend time within the location. Ask the concierge for recommendations, try different tours, ask restaurant owners for suggestions, and get to know locals. Now don’t get me wrong, there is always a role for a DMC and we have used them for specific tours within Barcelona (hiking Montserrat & local lunch) but we found a few great partners just by doing the research both pre-trip and on the site visit.
A few of these partners we found on a site in Barcelona ended up knocking it out of the park for the April President’s Club trip event. Devour Tours was an unbelievable partner who customized a wine tasting experience for our guests. They showed us a few options and allowed us to provide our likes and dislikes before putting together the perfect 6 hour custom daytime activity that was the highlight for most attendees.
Born to Cook was another impressive partner we found after searching online based on reviews and checking out a few different cooking classes we researched while visiting Barcelona. We found they had the best venue and also a talented chef. They were extremely professional and easy to partner with, so we worked directly with their team.
We found a few venues through online research and were then able to narrow down our top choice while on the site visit. Can Magi was again an amazing partner who provided the venue for our farewell events with cocktails, dinner, and dancing. They were easy to work with, the venue was gorgeous, and even booking direct it was an affordable option.
Finally, when looking to save on budget get out and explore restaurants and bars that are walking distance from your hotel while on your site visit. One evening we popped into almost 10 bars and restaurants to narrow down some of our favorites. You could find the perfect fit only a walk away. Don’t get stuck reading TripAdvisor reviews, they are important but it’s more valuable to get in and experience these venues. Gatsby Lounge was a great after party lounge venue for a client of ours that would have never come recommended from a DMC or even a 5 star hotel. We stopped in to check it out and knew immediately it fit our needs.
It is a little more work to source venues with the help of your us based travel partner? Yes, but in the end you might find that extra time will lead to higher ratings on feedback surveys and most importantly getting more value for your budget.
There are so many great cities or even countryside venues in Europe to host your next President’s Club. Find a great US travel agency to make your life easier and make sure that agency does it’s best to provide the best possible experience at the agreed upon budget!