Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When to hire a Travel Specialist

In reading the recent issue of Conde Nast Traveler, they published a great article highlighting the importance of a travel specialist including details and qualities to look for in your ideal travel specialist. 

In reviewing this well-written article, the details of when to hire a travel specialist are a good starting point for people who have not yet determined when to seek the assistance of a travel specialist.  We definitely agree with each of these well-thought reason’s from Consumer News Director Wendy Perrin:

  • highly personalized multi-day itineraries

    We actually spend quite a bit of our time doing this very thing because we pride ourselves in providing business to groups who come to us with a specific request for their travel destination and to-do list for excursions.  If we have a group requesting Holland, for example, we have educated ourselves in the locations to visit in the region, and we have on-location partners that have been interviewed and selected precisely for trips of such nature.IMG_3299 (3)
  • once-in-a-lifetime splurges involving four or five-star hotels

    These are often very special stories of desired trips for anniversaries or splendid celebrations.  Clients are eager to take that trip they’ve never spent the time to plan or think about because children have graduated, a landmark anniversary has come, or perhaps another major life event carries them to explore the trip of a lifetime!  Finding the proper hotels with immaculate service can be tricky in unknown areas of the world, and it’s our pleasure to guide you through your desired destinations to show you why one property is ideal for your needs!IMG_1831
  • English speaking guides and travelers 

    Perhaps this is not a detail that each traveler thinks about in arranging their exciting voyage, rather said traveler assumes this language detail as a given.  We certainly go through extra detail to insure you not only enjoy your excursions and guided tours but also understand them!IMG_1868
  • special access to monuments, events, or people

    Oh wait a detail we love!!!  This is especially exciting to us annually with our trips to NYC and Washington D.C. (as well as other destinations).  It’s a Beyond Group Travel natural to find how we can provide our travelers with special access or exclusive access!  Recently we shared with you that Linda and Ashley took travelers to the Neue Galerie on our Holidays in New York trip, and this visit meant that our travelers were granted before hours access to tour the museum!IMG_1781
  • cruises with private shore excursions

    Of everything listed here, this may be the detail we focus on most often.  Because we work with magnificent partners that allow us the added ability to do enhance our traveler’s experience, we do this for each every one of our cruise travelers.  While we never require you to take your excursions privately, we do always offer the ability to take private shore excursions!IMG_0433

Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713.954.4825

Source: http://www.cntraveler.com/travel-tips/travel-specialists

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holidays in New York 2012

IMG_1804Each year, we conduct a trip to New York City over what many call the most popular weekend in NYC.  Because our selected weekend follows the traditional Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony, many tourists are in New York to experience all else that this wonderful destination has to offer!
Our travelers are spoiled with prime accommodations, which were at the New York Barclay this year!Intercontinental Hotel The Barclay
In addition to great NYC accommodations, we love that this hotel really involves the Christmas season both in their d├ęcor in the notable lobby but also in providing occasional evening holiday entertainment to their guests.  It truly is a wonderful place to stay during the holiday season.
In traditional Beyond Group Travel fashion, we welcome our travelers on the first evening of the trip at a cocktail party complete with hors d’oeuvres.  Our travelers greatly enjoy the musical styling of the Toy Soldiers that we bring along as well!  Below you can see Linda and Ashley enjoying a photo opportunity with these talented gentleman.
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On our first full day in New York, some travelers elected to join us at the Neue Galerie to view early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design.  IMG_1781
Later that evening, we took our group to see Newsies, which is Disney’s musical and the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of ragged band of teen aged “newsies,” who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.  This musical was nominated for eight 2012 Tony Awards and and won Best Original Score and Best Choreography! 
Saturday morning, some travelers elected to join us for a tour of downtown Manhattan, which includes St. Paul’s Chapel, the 9/11 Memorial, and Winter Garden.  IMG_1886
Look at the fabulous picture Ashley captured in Winter Garden!IMG_1863
Later that night, we all enjoyed a fabulous showing of Nice Work if You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara.  Perhaps you caught a glimpse of their show performed in Herald Square during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!IMG_1908
On our final full day in NYC, our travelers elected to see either Radio City Christmas Spectacular or Once The Musical, and both were fantastic!  Later Sunday evening, we traveled together to one of Beyond Group Travel’s favorite NYC fine dining restaurants, Astra.  This dining venue has one of the greatest views in Manhattan, and our photos don’t even come close to describing the incredible view, although they do help!IMG_1954
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Can you tell we had fun?!
After dinner, we even had the opportunity to meet some of New York City’s finest!IMG_1991
In ALL of our trips to NYC, however, we would be remiss not to thank our wonderful, tried, and true motorcoach driver, Jacques.  He’s so much more than our driver, and travelers always LOVE him!  He truly makes the most of his career, and it works because we are always requesting him!IMG_1931
Experience the excitement, and join us next year for our annual Holidays in New York trip!
Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713.954.4825

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thanksgiving in New York 2012–More Pictures!

This week, we leave our devoted readers with more of a glimpse at our Thanksgiving in New york trip.  Enjoy this pictorial story portraying the loads of fun we had with our trip to New York for our close-up and luxurious view of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

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Take the hassle out of group travel; call us to plan your next group trip or join ours! 713.954.4825

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving in New York 2012

Macy's paradeIn reading our original post about Thanksgiving in 2010, it’s amazing to see how Beyond Group Travel has blossomed our signature Thanksgiving in New York program from 2010 to 2011 to this year, 2012.  2012 blessed us with a SOLD OUT program with 155 travelers, nearly all families!!!  Between the Traveling Aggies, Ohio State University Alumni, the War Eagle Travelers (Auburn), Georgia Tech University Alumni, and the University of South Florida Alumni, we filled the Residence Inn Times Square Manhattan. 

It was a pleasure to have one of our new staff members, Sandra Rodriguez, along to work with Cindy and Linda this year!  Sandra and Statue of LibertyOur team was also pleased to work alongside each host; Jennifer Bohac – Traveling Aggies, Jacky Bennett – Ohio State University, Tanja Matthews – War Eagle Travelers, and Joe Irwin – Georgia Tech University.

Without a doubt, we knew we had found a gem for family-friendly accommodations when we began working with the Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Times Square in early 2011.  After last year’s Thanksgiving trip, we were impressed and thoroughly pleased to continue working with this property and their Director of Sales and Marketing, Jim McCabe. We cannot say enough wonderful things about how our spacious NYC accommodations worked out, the fabulous food we enjoyed for our welcome cocktail party and private parade viewing as well as breakfast each morning.  What we further love about working with the Residence Inn is the eye-appealing wrap-around view that this property provides to our travelers for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!Spiderman Balloon 2

As our program continued through the weekend, travelers were able to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the legendary Rockettes, and we took our largest conclusive group to date on a Downtown Manhattan tour as well as a Circle Line Cruise.Radio City Music Hall

Downtown Manhattan Friday 11-23Circle Line Cruise - Manhattan Skkyline

Further, what’s New York without a little Broadway?!  Travelers saw one or two of their chosen favorites from Jersey Boys, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Spiderman Turn Off the Dark, and Wicked.

We greatly appreciate the compliments and testimonials we have already received, and we are energized to continue with our programs, including our Holidays in New York program that departs THIS WEEK!

We’re already planning for Thanksgiving in New York next year, and we look forward to hosting the Flying Longhorns, Alabama Alumni Association, and, for the first time, Wolftreks Travel (North Carolina State)!  Is your family interested in celebrating Thanksgiving in a new way?!