We at Wetravel aim to make travelers’ lives a lot easier. After all, that’s what our product is all about! But we also try to do this through our stories. From the tips and tricks that are provided by our more experienced travelers to our own adventures, we’re always looking to give you the best advice possible. So this week, we’re introducing a new series called MBA Trips and Tips!
These blog posts focus on MBA trips and feature interviews with MBA students, as they share information about how they organize group trips, how Wetravel has helped them, and their own personal experiences with group travel. Our first installment is with Yusuke, a MBA student at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, who talked about his group trip to Japan!
Q. Tell us a little bit more about your experiences organizing group trips.
A. The Anderson Japan Trip is an annual trip over spring break organized by 1st-year Japanese students at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Even though the trip is not officially sponsored by UCLA Anderson, it is one of the biggest Anderson events and a consistent highlight of the Anderson experience. This year, 7 Japanese students spent 6 months planning the 6-night, 7-day trip for 90 Anderson students. We visited Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya (Toyota Factory), Yugawara (hot spring district), and Tokyo.
What do you enjoy about group travel?
We were so excited to show our home country to our classmates who were completely unfamiliar with Japanese culture and tradition. We visited both historical places such as temples and shrines in Kyoto and modern places such as the Toyota Factory and Tokyo to showcase the full spectrum of Japanese culture. They learned Japanese greetings, sampled local cuisine, immersed themselves in the culture, and became fanatics about Japan.
What are some of the issues that you faced while planning your group trip and how did you overcome them?
None of us had ever organized such a big trip. All aspects in managing the trip, including logistics, marketing, and finance, were very challenging. We held a weekly meeting starting from October and took six months to fully plan the trip.
Wetravel made the preparation for the trip much easier. We could easily manage the trip participants and collect trip fees through the integrated Wetravel platform. In addition, Wetravel saved us a significant amount of money in exchange rates for our Japan trip. To get a good exchange rate was critical in breaking even for the trip, since we paid for all travel costs (hotels, attractions, etc) via our Japanese travel agency with Japanese Yen, whereas we collected a fixed US dollar amount from our participants.
We also planned several optional trips in addition to the main trip, which introduced another layer of complexity. Also, since hotel room capacity varied in each city, we needed to manage room-pairings for each city. For both, participants signed up manually via a Google Spreadsheets that we managed. For future iterations, Wetravel could consider functionality for trip participants to sign up and pay for optional additions and/or to sign up for rooms.
If you could travel to any place in the world with anyone, where would you go and who would join you? (Don’t worry about the budget and feel free to take someone famous along with you!)
The Hawaii Islands (a popular vacation spot for Japanese) with our organizing committee to celebrate the success of this Japan trip!! We hope someone will plan a great trip to Hawaii through Wetravel.
Lastly, do you have any tips for people who are starting to organize their own group trips?
- Always plan ahead of time and prepare for uncertainty
- Plan events beyond participants’ expectations
- Beware of currency exchange rate for international trips!
We hope that you enjoyed this installment of MBA Trips and Tips. Make sure to come back next week for our second blog post with Naoko! And if you liked this series, check out our Travel Influencer series, which features interviews with other seasoned travelers.
Featured Image Source: Yusuke Matsuoka