Hen weekends for large groups
Having a large group is a challenge, there’s no getting round it. We’re contacted everyday by groups who have 20 or more people and don’t know where to start. We’ve put together some information for you for things to consider and how you should approach the organsing process.
Organising a large group
- Get commitment
More often than not when groups start at 20 people they end up being 12 people. Group leaders are often given a list of names and assume everyone is coming. Even after the initial emails or messages have gone out people say they are ‘in’ but it’s not until further down the line they drop out. As your plans can often be dependent on group sizes staying the same it’s vital you get commitment. Being about to tell people dates, price of the weekend and asking for a small deposit will normally refine the group down.
- Create a dictatorship!
Planning by committee doesn’t work. Everyone will have an opinion. It’s fine to collaborate when it comes to dates, budget and destination but after an initial phase we would suggest going away and coming up with 2 or three options and committing to one. We speak to people everyday who are pulling their hair out as there are certain group members who don’t like something within a package or think they can do it better. The reality of that situation is they can’t and won’t do it better as they’ve not looked into it like you. The only people you should take advice from is the experts like us, or the person the weekend is for. Then tell people what you’re doing. Be a dictator.
- Find something suitable
Not all weekends are suitable. Small hotels with small spas will not work well. Making sure there are enough treatment rooms is also important. Doing something in the daytime that works for a big group is also important. Our team will be able to advise on the best activities for large groups and best hotels.
- Make sure you build in flexibility
While organising make sure you consider what will happen if the group size does decrease at any stage and if this will cause any knock-on implications to cost for the rest of the group. You could hit a brick wall with the plans if the group size does drop. Private events like Murder Mystery evenings or daytime activities like hospitality boxes at events can be a good example of this.
- Consider the evening options
In an attempt to keep the costs down group leaders will often factor out things like meals but with very large groups it’s almost impossible to find eating options on the night. Also collecting money on the evening can be a nightmare so we suggest including pre-paid meals. This also goes for elements like nightclub entry and area’s in bars.
- Offer combinations – but not too many
You’ll tend to find most people in the group are on different budgets so being able to offer a ‘cheaper’ version of the package can be a good idea to make sure you don’t exclude anyone. Offering a one night version of a package can be a good way of doing this. Our advice is to not offer too many combinations though. It can turn into a very difficult and confusing situation for you to keep on top of. We would suggest a maximum of 3 or 4 combinations.
- Collecting the money
The worst, and most common, predicament group leaders find themselves in is group members not paying and them finding themselves out of pocket. With us we have an online payment system where group members pay us direct and as group leader you can see who’s paid. If the group members haven’t paid by the deadline date they’re not coming. It’s harsh but it’s the best way to be. Our advice is to be strict and firm with dates. You’ll always get someone with payment issues but by being firm from the start you’ll find yourself in a better position.
Here are some package ideas we think work for large groups.