Many people reminisce about the days when deals were done with nothing more than a handshake, yet today's litigious society dictates a more sophisticated (and legal) approach to doing business. This certainly holds true for group travel, where one tour package alone could involve multiple transactions and see tens of thousands of dollars exchanging hands. "Getting it in writing" is the travel industry norm, and group leaders need business acumen and negotiation skills to deal with contractual transactions. Those who don't embrace this approach may take unnecessary risks.
"For group bookings, a countersigned agreement is always crucial. No exceptions," said Robert Miller, an attorney and president/owner of TravelAdvocates, a hotel site selection company in Hoboken, New Jersey, that assists groups with finding appropriate hotels at the best rates and contract terms. Before anything gets put in writing and signed, group leaders must make sure they're working with vendors, hotels, and other service providers to get what they need to create good tour packages for their clients. This is why Miller believes solid negotiation tactics should always be followed.
Paying attention to details and "extras" in any contract is important; not doing so could directly affect your bottom line. It's a lot to remember and can take extra time, but having everything legally covered (and accounted for in an official document) will protect you, and your customers, from misunderstandings that could affect your travel plans.
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Written by Mark Yontz is a freelance writer from Urbandale, Iowa.