When dreaming of a gorgeous private vacation villa in the sun, you may not instantly conjure up a vision of a group holiday. However, the islands of Samui and Phuket in Thailand, and Bali in Indonesia, are popular group-holiday hotspots and happen to be the destinations when it comes to luxuriating in a stunning villa with a million-dollar view and awesome facilities. With exceptional open-plan spaces and amazing features from game rooms to cinemas, it’s no surprise that a high-end villa is the perfect stay.
If you think about group vacations you might be forgiven for imagining tour holidays with strangers or young friends getting together for a party break at a resort. However, group travel is varied today, extending to families with three generations going away together and couples with young kids joining forces with friends with children too for a joint-family experience. On top of this, there are groups of millennials who value experiential luxury as well as those celebrating a special occasion, from a wedding to a birthday or reunion.
If you’re planning to get away with friends or loved ones, then here’s our ‘10 Top Tips on Organizing a Successful Private Villa Group Vacation’:
1. Get everyone to commit to dates
Obvious as it might be, finding a window that suits everybody is no mean feat. The best option is to set the parameters as wide as possible and ask everyone in the group to list preferred days, other times that they can also do, and any dates that are impossible. Cross-reference these to pinpoint availability while checking out flight times and prices where necessary.
2. Create a wish-list survey
Not everyone has the same idea of a perfect group holiday, so getting an overall picture of the type of vacation atmosphere and characteristics each person has can help. Ask everyone what they want and identify what their ideal vacation is all about before you begin organizing everything else. For example, does everyone want to relax on a tropical island, enjoy time by the pool, and do some fun activities too?
3. Ask for a list of everyone’s activity requests
Your next quest is to get specific about what each person wants to do. This can help you plan the itinerary and also source local information such as dive trips and island hopping tours before you go to save time. You could approach this by listing things to do, including sightseeing, and ask holidaymakers to tick off what interests them.
4. Request any special arrangements for any events in advance
If, for example, you want a celebratory dinner then you could create your own menu with al fresco dining at your vacation villa prepared by your own private chef. With the right time to organize this, you could surprise someone you care about with a sumptuous feast. You can also make sure that any particular dietary requirements are catered for too, while you may be on a healthy-eating holiday and want freshly prepared feel-good dishes.
5. Be aware of any dislikes and special requirements
Don’t jump to conclusions about family and friends when it comes to their desires and needs. Food allergies, physical disabilities, and health issues, as well as personal preferences, all have to be considered and accommodated for. It’s best to ask each person privately as some issues might be personal and not intended to be broadcast to the whole group.
6. Organize some trips and activities in advance
While it’s a good idea to not plan every moment and allow for destinations to be discovered, the key to a smooth group vacation experience is planning. Booking things to see and do, whether for everyone or a select few is a good idea to avoid wasting time and energy when you arrive at your beautiful private villa. Keep in mind that families with grandparents, parents, and children may have quite diverse interests in what constitutes a good time.
7. Create an itinerary
Once activities, down-time, and any special meals together are organized, it’s worthwhile adding these to an itinerary. Make sure you include enough time to relax and for everyone to do their own thing too as the secret to a successful trip with others is to factor in time alone. You can then send this to everyone. The beauty of a luxury villa, whether on a gorgeous Thai island or in beautiful Bali, is that you don’t need to keep going out and about. Many villas have a gym, in-villa butler, and infinity pools with outdoor lounging too.
8. Allocate rooms so everybody’s happy
Luxury villas are perfect for group holidays simply because of the location, setting, and features, as well as the service, communal spaces, and privacy. Another plus point is the number of bedrooms, with villas boasting anywhere from four rooms to around nine, as well as family suites with rooms for kids in some villas too. The good news for smaller groups is that villas can be booked for a certain number of rooms, even if that’s less than the total number of bedrooms in the villa. Meaning five or six rooms, for example, can be booked in a seven-bedroom villa. On top of this, many villa bedrooms can be reconfigured with twin or king-size beds too, offering greater flexibility with sleeping arrangements.
9. Communicate with an app messenger group
A great way to make sure everyone’s in the loop and keep a good flow of information is to set up a group chat. WhatsApp, Line, Viber, and Facebook Messenger are great for this. It can really help in making quick decisions and answering any queries others may have as well.
10. Make sure practicalities are organized too
From travel insurance to visas, flights, and airport transfers, as well as getting around once you arrive, practical travel details need to be sorted out. That way, your villa vacation will run smoothly and you can relax, safe in the knowledge that these logistics are already sorted. It could be a good idea to create a checklist and on this, you could add any suggestions, such as what clothes to bring, based on the activities you’ll be doing while you’re away.
An organized group trip is a happy group trip!
Ready for that group holiday? See our finest collection of luxury private villa rentals and holiday homes across Asia. For more useful articles about travel planning, check out our Travel Guides.