In a never ending cycle, high school and middle school teachers are continually being solicited by student travel companies hoping to take their student group on a trip. Every school has numerous groups that like to travel including performance ensembles (bands, choirs & orchestras) as well as educational groups, senior classes and more. The desire that many groups have in wanting to ensure the perfect experience sometimes overshadows the importance of selecting the most qualified travel planner. At Group Travel Network we strive to exceed your expectations not only during your trip, but also before….and after you travel. Our goal is to provide you with a Stress Free Student Travel experience that leaves you with plenty of “Memories Worth Repeating!”
In a never ending cycle, high school and middle school teachers are continually being solicited by student travel companies hoping to take their student group on a trip. Every school has numerous groups that like to travel including performance ensembles (bands, choirs & orchestras) as well as educational groups, senior classes and more. The desire that many groups have in wanting to ensure the perfect experience sometimes overshadows the importance of selecting the most qualified travel planner. At Group Travel Network
we strive to exceed your expectations not only during your trip, but also before….and after you travel. Our goal is to provide you with a Stress Free Student Travel
experience that leaves you with plenty of “Memories Worth Repeating!”
Researching the best option for your group is highly recommended. With that in mind we have created the following list of questions you should ask each candidate in order to make an informed decision:
• Is the Student Travel Company a member of any organization/association that promotes higher standards in student travel?
The student tour operator must be a member of an organization/association that is committed to integrity, honesty, value and service. Associations like the Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA – promotes student & youth travel and seeks to foster integrity and professionalism among student and youth travel service providers), the American Bus Association (ABA), Florida Association of Ticketing (F.L.O.A.T) and the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA) are just a few associations that advocate these requirements.
Group Travel Network
is a Member in Good Standing in each of these associations, and more.
• Does the Student Travel Company provide CUSTOM itineraries AND a full array of services?
Many travel planners out there only provide “cookie cutter” options for you to choose from which very rarely meet the budgetary concerns
and educational needs that you may have. We suggest that you choose a company that is willing to listen to your needs/desires and takes the time to CUSTOM design a trip to fit what you have in mind for your students. After the planning is done, be sure that the company you have selected specializes in representing your groups while in the destination you have selected.
Group Travel Network provides a dedicated Service Host for ALL student trips to every destination we service. Your GTN Service Host will assist with transportation, hotel check-in and check-out, entrance into all attractions, reservations at all restaurants, performance location logistics and SO MUCH MORE
• What type of vendors does the Student Travel Company work with?
Ask each of the student travel planners you are considering how they select their motorcoach companies? Do they cross reference there member ratings with ABA? Do they check their safety records with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration?
Make sure you are receiving the safest options for your group(s). Are they booking interior corridor hotels? Do they provide onsite security for each overnight stay in the hotel? Do they separate male and females on different floors of the hotel? Are the restaurants they suggest group friendly, reputable restaurants? Do they offer you the option of purchasing individual travel insurance?
Be sure that the company you choose is not only honest, but provides a safe and reliable tour, a tour that flows in a logical manner for groups of your size, a tour that meets ALL of your needs, a tour that stays within YOUR budget.
• Does the Student Travel Company provide you with an itinerary and tickets ONLY…or do they provide you with an onsite Service Host to ensure the logistics of your trip exceed your expectations?
EVERY student group tour should be accompanied by an onsite Service Host to ensure that the logistics of your trip are handled with care. The Service Host should accompany the group from the beginning of the trip to the end of the trip. They should be there to ensure that all of your arrangements run as smoothly as possible, including all of the transportation, accommodations, meals, attraction tickets & park admissions, performance logistics and more.
• How well does the assigned Service Host know the destination you are visiting?
Service Hosts that escort groups nationwide should be assigned based on their knowledge of the destination you are visiting. Ask how many student groups your tour representative has escorted in the city that you’ve selected. Make sure that they are accustomed to working with groups of students in the area attractions, restaurants, hotels and most importantly, make sure they know the traffic patterns (there’s nothing worse than spending your day stuck on a bus going from venue to venue).
Ask questions. Visit websites. Call each company that interests you (it is important to speak verbally, not just communicate electronically). Narrow down your choices and submit a Request For Proposal
(RFP) that allows you to compare proposals in an apples-to-apples format.
Overall, do your homework. Ask questions, read brochures, check out websites, call the competing student tour operator companies and find out what to expect from each. By asking the above-mentioned questions, one should be able to narrow down the choices to a few student travel companies. Ask for bids and choose a company that will best suit your travel needs, curriculum requirements and budget. Always make sure you select a safe and reliable company that will customize your trip, your way and provide you with excellent service.
We at Group Travel Network meet/exceed each of the above-mentioned criteria. Our travel planning experience spans all types of student groups from performance ensembles and educational groups to senior class trips and theatrical troupes. We foster relationships with reputable vendors in destinations nationwide while maintaining memberships in travel trade organizations such as SYTA, ABA, ASBDA…..and Preferred Planner Status at the Universal Orlando Resort (Top 19 Travel Planners Worldwide).
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