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Planners Talk Back: Surprises

Select Traveler asked these group travel planners, “What are some fun surprises you plan for your group?” Check out their responses.

Nancy Jo Nunley

First National Bank and Trust, Okmulgee, Oklahoma

“On international trips, I always keep in mind a simple surprise for my travelers. I will try to pick a day where we are having dinner on our own and will try to get as many members as possible together for dinner. Then I will pick up their tab. I keep track of those that couldn’t attend and pick up a meal for them some time during the trip. This is just a little way the bank and I can express thanks to our valued customers.”

Ellen Borkenhagen

Profinium, Fairmont, Minnesota

“When my guests have a birthday or anniversary during a trip, I like to treat them to drinks at dinner or have a bottle of champagne sent to their room. They really appreciate the extra attention and personal treatment. I also will put all my photos on a flash drive for my travelers. Others on the trip will give me their photos so I can add them as well. People enjoy getting those.”

Jane Myers

Bank of Missouri, Perryville, Missouri

“On our motorcoach tours, we play a variety of games. These consist mostly of trivia and bingo, but we do have a horse race game as well. If you could just imagine the excitement of winning a horse race, all of the members are chanting for their chosen stick horses.”

Robin Torbron Warde

Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island

“I always plan a welcome reception and try to invite local alumni to join us, whether in London, Amsterdam or wherever the trip launches.”

Jeff Wendorf

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

“Serving as a group host on a large cruise has its challenges. Getting the group together can be like herding cats, and making connections is difficult to say the least. I make sure to bring along birthday, anniversary and get-well cards to recognize those special events. I also try to schedule some impromptu gatherings and add a few event enhancements. For example, a recent cruise I hosted coincided with our university’s founding anniversary. I scheduled a Founders Day event, ordered a cake and gave a brief lecture regarding the university’s history.

“At our farewell reception, I put together a trivia contest pertaining to our university with small gifts for the winners. Finally, we always try to invite our local alumni or students traveling abroad to join us for a reception.”