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OK VMB members, 1st time planning a group trip MUCH help needed, please.

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by Happygirl21, Apr 4, 2016.

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  1. Happygirl21

    Happygirl21 Low-Roller

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    And so it begins....October will mark my first "group trip" to LV. Out of the 5 going, three are first timers and because I am the only "gambler" with any sort of comps and have been there the most, I have been "nominated" to be the ring-leader ( for lack of a better word.)

    Our group is made up of 5 middle aged ladies, so clubs are not something I am concerned about. Obviously, I will have to gawk at fountains, volcanoes, and parade in out of all the casinos. Two of the ladies I have been in regular contact with since high school. One was like my sister in our younger years and I haven't seen in about 19 years ( and I cannot wait to see) and the other, well I haven't thought about since high school.

    Here is where I need some help/suggestions.

    I have never put together a group trip so with regard to accommodations, although I am only Platinum with CET, I am currently getting the better/best rates using the friends/family offers ( Plus it's going to be Halloween weekend so I wonder if that will be reflected in rates etc...) My room is comped ( less resort fees etc) but the second one is not. As it gets closer, do I ask the other people for their portion of the room up front? Although I do not mind sharing my room with another person, I am not interested in sharing a bed (hell I don't even want to share it with my SO half the time,lol). I feel funny to be forward in saying that to the little group, but it's probably better to throw that out there right from the start, I am guessing.

    When dinning out, what do other groups do? Separate checks or bill splits. At the risk of sounding cheap, I seem to often get screwed when bill splits happen. Not saying this will be the case in this instance but just looking at historical events.

    I am pretty chill and easy to get along with, I do not require much in the way of food, entertainment etc. My initial thought is, since 4 of us are coming in from the East coast, and not landing till (give or take) 7pm local time, after getting settled taking them to Ellis Island for a cheap meal and more local vibe. I know the place is off-beat, but I seem to find it has become my first-night-go-to place. Anywhere we go after that ( unless it's Double Down Saloon,lol) should be a step up for the new visitors,lol.

    I am also thinking of exposing them to DT and would even be interested in booking Friday down there. I have this strong desire to play cornhole at the Gold Spike, particularly because they wouldn't let me in two weeks ago :drunk: oops!

    Basically, I am asking for suggestions, ideas, input etc on how to make a group trip successful without dumping tons of $ but giving a few first timers a wide range of LV exposures in only 4 days.

    Looking forward to feedback!
    As always, thanks a bunch!
    :kiss:
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
    In the planning phase.
  2. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    I have planned many group trips....I get the rooms set up in their names and one has to give a CC # to secure. Advised that person that many times the 1st nite will be charged in advance. When they check in....make sure the room is in the names of the people staying there so your CC info is not attached.

    Restaurants.....we always do separate checks. Have had people that were only having a bite when others may order a full meal....splitting checks was not fair to some. Are staying at Bally's..... if multiple people in room - theirs are larger.

    We are retired so no clubs for us but we do enjoy the lounge acts at Bally's....they seem to play music we know....lol
     
  3. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    OK...these are my views & may not work as well for you as they do for me... so, there's your standard disclaimer... :)

    Room cost - the way I would do this if I were in your situation is to estimate the total cost (including resort fees, taxes, etc) for all of the rooms for the entire group & trip. Now, back-out the total amount of your resort fees from that total. Now, divide by the number in your group (not counting you!). Tell each what their share of the room expense is... put it all on your credit card & they pay you prior to the trip. (warn them that any room charges for room service & misc. stuff will be on them - not on you...for "incidentals" someone from each room will need to provide their own card... for your room, have whomever is sharing it with you use their card...pay her back if you end up charging anything.)
    Approaching them is simple - just send out a group e-mail or text, along these lines: "OK - I've got the rooms all booked on my credit card. Your share of the room costs is $150. I need to get this from each of you before we check-in. Thanks!"

    For meals, it can get a bit more tricky, especially with 5 of you. Easiest would be seperate checks, but if you go the "one check" route (which does tend to be quicker & less expensive), then alternate who picks up meal tabs... everyone should plan on giving cash to that person, according to what they ordered, + 30% to account for tax & tips... so, if Jane orders stuff that totals $34, she should probably throw in $45 or $50. Always best to round-up.
    If you've got some who like to order high & pay low? Make sure she understands the guidelines... probably best to talk with her privately before the trip.

    Downtown? Absolutely! Schedule an afternoon/evening for that! In fact, I'd go ahead and book a limo for your round-trip transportation,,,everyone throws in $40, rouund-trip...you should be able to get a limo company to do that for you for that, so long as they don't have to wait around & they send a car to pick you up when you call for your return trip. You should be able to get that for $75 each way & tip $25.

    HINT: Let everyone know that the best way to communicate with each other (when you inevitably get seperated) is use Text... the group should plan on checking their phones for any texts each time they get up from a table or machine.

    Since you have newbies coming, be sure to school them on tipping CWs and dealers... warn them about drinking too much, especially if they find themselves in the casino, gambling alone.
    Dehydration can be a real problem & it can sneak up on you... I try to remember to make every 3rd drink a bottled water...sometimes, two of them.
    Warn them about the pervasive smoking in casinos... they need to know it's a smoker-friendly environment... just a part of the 'atmosphere'.

    Tell them all that's perfectly ok to be silly & let their hair down & leave all of their 'life-stress' behind at home!
    Have fun!
    :beer:
     
    Seems like forever from now, but the flights are booked, so it counts!
  4. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    I have traveled with "non gamblers" and once made the mistake of sharing my room with one. Never again. Do yourself a favour, don't share your room; you'll want to be able to come and go as you please without guilt. You may end up doing a lot of your gambling after the others have gone to bed. I would suggest you collect the deposit for the rooms you get them at the friends and family rate upfront and let them settle the rest between them at check-in using their own credit cards.

    For first night meal, I would suggest something on the strip; Mon Ami Gabi on the terrace or even the terrace at Margarittaville. Great way for the newbies to soak in the sights and sounds of Vegas. It may be a bit "off-putting" to have the first experience in Vegas be Ellis Island. Something on the Casino floor like The Henry at Cosmo, Planet Dailies at PHo or Grand Lux at Venetian would work too for a low key meal but experiencing the excitement of the Casino.

    For your lower end meals, you could take turns picking up the tab or just split the cheque (it should all work out in the end). Perhaps do separate cheques on your higher end meals if there is a concern that it may not work out evenly.

    Whatever your expectations are, just make sure everyone knows. It isn't necessary for the group to be together all the time; if a couple want to split off to go shopping and others want to do something else, that's the plus of being with a group.....everyone can donwhat they want and meet up later.

    I'm sure you'll have a blast showing old friends around Vegas. It is fun to see things through the eyes of a newbie.
     
  5. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    Some good advice here. Whenever I go with a group, large or small (have a group of 14 going in June) I always stress that everyone needs to do their own thing. Obviously you are all going together for a reason but if someone wants to go do something that the others don't want to do, that's fine. It's their vacation.

    I agree it's fun to show Vegas to newbies. Three years ago I took my girlfriend for her first time. Fun time. In June my son will be among 3 who have never been there before.
     
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    If your play qualifies you for some perks, that's great, but you don't owe your traveling companions anything. If you can get them a good rate, that's awesome, but you are under no obligation to, say, double down on a room to save someone a few bucks. In our entire traveling circle none of us anticipates ever sharing a room. There're just certain things getting older and working allow us, and this is definitely to our way of thinking at the top of the list.

    If you like Ellis and you think they will, too, that is an option. It's not something I see as a do let alone a must-do in Vegas. Plenty of options at every Strip casino to get whatever type of bite sounds good on arrival night, and if not at your hotel, then right next door. Food can be a real stumbling point for folks who are not accustomed to each other or traveling together. If there is any question, stick to places with diverse offerings, hell, even a buffet.

    Work out the cost-sharing matter BEFORE you go. It's OK to rotate picking up tabs, it is OK to ask for separate checks. That's a personal thing. But the big picture is to just make sure everyone is on the same page before the first check hits the first table.

    Let the gang know that there is no expectation that everyone does everything together all the time.

    A trip downtown sounds like a good plan.

    In essence, the more flexibility you have in the field, the more same-page you are in advance, the greater the likelihood of it simply being fun fun fun without any tense or awkward moments.
     
  7. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I travel with a group and one of the things I love is that everyone is always free to join in or not join in. We text each other about plans, but you're free to opt in or out as you feel. Someone will say "Cabana time!" or "Anyone up for Smashburger?" and you can choose to join them or not. We typically do separate checks when group dining.

    I think what dooms group vacations is when people expect the whole group to want to do the same thing at the same time. Nothing ruins a trip for me more quickly than being responsible for another person's entertainment. I go on vacation for me. :)

    Certainly schedule a few things for the group to do together, but be sure that everyone knows what is expected of them. Don't take it all on yourself.
     
  8. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

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    Sounds like a diverse group between current and long ago friends, so my two cents:

    . Yes to Breanna's post! Especially working out/collecting room deposit/payment in advance, include in email so No surprises.
    . 5 ladies = 3 rooms - one for you, 2 each in the other - why? Bathroom time getting ready. Yours could be the gathering place if needed
    . Yes to Ellis Island but save for 2nd or 3rd day, for arrival first night - impress them with strip glitz - See Breanna's suggestions.
    . Ask for separate checks each meal together so no one feels intimidated to pay more when some might imbibe/eat more than others.
    . Get a consensus from all as to what the 'must do or see' places are and try to include one for each - wing it the rest of the trip!
    . Have a 'meetup' time and place for dinner, etc - no shows? shoot them a text to meet at the destination or confirm they won't make it.
    . Build some 'free time' into the trip for solo activities.
    . Consider the bus to/from downtown - inexpensive, frequent with convenient stops - a real Vegas experience and fun for a group.
    . Research places to eat before trip - except for dinners which might need reservations, be flexible and go with the flow
    . Have a blast reconnecting with friends!
     
  9. Lovegas95

    Lovegas95 Low-Roller

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    Encourage others to see and experience Vegas for themselves. I've led groups because I'm the "seasoned veteran " of Vegas in their eyes. I refuse to babysit another adult for the duration of the trip though. I also steer clear of reserving rooms for others but will share my experience with various properties. If someone reserves their own room with their own credit card, then they are fully vested in traveling. Otherwise, there's too much room for resentment when someone inevitably backs out. Logistically speaking, this saves the most stress and could save the friendship.
    We will do some things together...meals, shows and some sights. Being the degenerate I am, I will gamble guilt-free.
     
    Must...Go...To...Vegas!
  10. VegasDawg

    VegasDawg Tourist

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    Yeah the bus downtown sounds like a great idea, the newbies get a tour of the strip and everyone's happy and excited...good idea.
    The trip back should be anything but the bus...too slow...too many stops...OMG somebody threw-up back here...the driver has had too much crap to deal with today and is ready to stop the bus and clean house...been there done the return trip three times too many...cab, limo, uber, lyft, anything but the bus after 11:00.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  11. Happygirl21

    Happygirl21 Low-Roller

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    You guys are all so awesome, thank you!!!

    After reading breanna61's advice, about getting a lone room, the more I think about it the more I think I will do that. I do come and go all hours of the night, breanna I believe you mentioned we keep similar Vegas hours on my last TR. This way I don't need to worry about bothering anyone.

    I also like the idea of doing a bus DT and maybe a car back to the strip.I am all about doing my/your own thing. I guess I just don't know what they expect from me, since I am the "veteran",lol. Usually I go alone, so I don't need to worry about anyone else.

    I guess EI may not be the best intro to Vegas, so maybe Mon Ami Gabi might be nice. But EI karaoke later in the week ( not that I sing, although I do think I become Carol King after I get a few in me :eek: ).

    Can any of you think of any must see's I should be sure to include, who knows, maybe there will be something new and exciting to me too. I have yet to make it up in the Manadrin, so maybe that might be something to shoot for.

    I also think there is a great chance the pools might be closed the end of October, guess weather will dictate that.

    Keep the suggestions coming, please! I know this is a ways away, but better to have some stuff out in the open so everyone knows where we all stand.

    Thanks again!
    :beer:
     
    In the planning phase.
  12. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Good decision on getting your own room. Lesson learned there for me.

    When I've shown newbies around Vegas, they always seem to like Bellagio (Conservatory and fountain show), Cosmo (Chandelier Bar, statues upstairs, etc.), Venetian (the ceilings are gorgeous), Wynncore and Lake of Dreams, Caesars and the Forum Shops. You can keep newbies busy for days just checking out various properties. Lots of choices depending on their interests. Karaoke at EI is always fun. I always get a kick out of that old guy who dresses like Elvis and doesn't sound a thing like him.

    I think most of the pools are open until the end of October.
     
  13. joespoolhall

    joespoolhall Low-Roller

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    I put together summer golf trips for 3-10 guys for 10-11 years. One recommendation I have is don't feel responsible for planning every detail of the trip. I think Ken suggested working out details before you go. This is a must, especially concerning paying you for any charges you incur before or during the trip.
    I usually left meal specifics to each person. I knew where I wanted to eat. If anyone wanted to tag along, just remember your wallet and your attitude. The core group of 3-4 would just rotate checks. We had a large group a couple of times and just split the check (incl tip) evenly, but no one had a problem with this. I'm sure many would prefer separate checks. Everything else is individual choice. I didn't mind playing tour guide, but that's your choice. Just don't let it get out of hand. As was said, your comps are indeed yours. If you want to spread the wealth, that's your call, but not mandatory. My final tip is make sure YOU have a good time too. Have a great trip.

    Good Luck!
    Ric at Joes
     
  14. smerrian

    smerrian Low-Roller

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    I think your first meal, after getting off the planes around 7:00pm, at Ellis Island is a great idea. It's easy surroundings that won't distract while you're talking and getting acquainted/reacquainted after so many years apart. Of course the love comes pouring right back, but you'll want to talk and just shmooze after so much time has passed. Ellis Island is the perfect start. Once you've talked and everyone has gotten into the swing of things with everyone else, you'll want to start sight seeing. Then meals at Mon Ami Gombi and Margaritaville would be better because you won't be as consumed with each other. You'll notice the surroundings more.
    Pools mostly close October 15. Some pools, especially heated ones, stay open a bit later.
    Lastly, I would recommend a nice walk across the street through Bellagio to the lobby, conservatory and fountains, a walk through Palazzo/Venetian, and a walk through Wynn. I don't think anything gets the "Wow" factor going more than the excesses of these 3 properties. You don't have to play, but a walk is nice to take in the best of the Strip. Downtown with the girls? Sure, but don't drive. Split a limo for $20/person each way and enjoy the drinks as you show them 'Old Style' Las Vegas.
    Enjoy.
     
  15. roycpa

    roycpa Low-Roller

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    Let me voice a different opinion. We are regulars in LV and have "hosted" (for lack of a better word) a group of 4 (two couples) at least 3 different times. We have been happy to be tour guides and have generally enjoyed the trips. You don't mention how long a weekend you will be in town. If at least 3 nights, I can't imagine not renting a car. An SUV will hold all of you and be considerably cheaper than a limo or taxi. (If you are all heavy drinkers, I might reconsider.)
    A walking trip up and down the strip can fill one day, but after that they will either be gambling heavily, drinking heavily, or bored to death. You need some definite guidelines before you go - we generally reserve rooms in our name and the people immediately reimburse us as soon as the credit card bill gets in. I can't really imagine Ellis Island for first timers, but if they like that then I suspect Battista's can't be far behind (barf). If the purpose of the trip is just to get reacquainted, then a nice quiet lounge might be just the place. At least one will want to see the Dam, and at least one will want to hit an outlet mall as well.
    You know your group better than any of us, so the final results will be up to you. Don't be afraid to lay down the law if necessary.
     
  16. Happygirl21

    Happygirl21 Low-Roller

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    We will be there 4 nights. Two, myself included, are coming from NJ, arriving 7 pm local time. Two are coming from Va ( one is noon arrival other unsure as of now) the other is in Az. My only thought about EI was it's no thrills and simple but no way am I committed. As for "knowing my group" as silly as this may sound two of them I know well, one of them I knew well ( but am looking forward to reconnecting with) and the fourth well....just not sure, I truly haven't even remotely talked to her since 1988. She is rather chummy with one of the other ladies.

    To be honest, I forget people want to go to things like Hoover Dam and being that I am not a shopper, people actually like that too, lol. Typically, my visits to LV are solo with my primary focus on gaming with a show and an off Vegas sightseeing tour thrown in for good measure. Although I thoroughly enjoy entertaining at home, I guess I am just not sure what my role is being dubbed the "seasoned Vegas person". I want to expose them to a varied Vegas experience and hope the three new visitors love it as much as I do.

    I was thinking of sending out an email asking them what points of interest they are looking for and what is on their Vegas "wish lists".

    Thanks for your suggestions and ideas! I appreciate them :)
     
    In the planning phase.
  17. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Sounds like you have a good idea already of whats going to be happening :)

    Reading your post a few thoughts that come to mind:

    --> For accommodations you should just ask them what they want to do: do they want to share rooms/beds? or do they want their own room?

    --> Everybody should stay at the same hotel. If you can get Caesars Palace comped for yourself but their budgets can only afford Harrah's then you should all stay at Harrah's - it just makes it a lot easier for starting off the day, meeting up, and winding up the night if you are all at the hotel where you are staying.

    --> Skip the Ellis Island idea. First night, its going to be 7-8PM when you are out and about locally, 10-11PM biologically, and you are going to have three first timers with you - they are going to want to see The Strip and the casinos and all it has to offer, not go off strip to some cheap dumpy casino so they can save a couple of bucks on a piece of shoe leather steak special.

    --> If its only four days don't do the Downtown hotel stay. I like Downtown, but again with three first timers there is so much they are going to do and see on The Strip that even skipping Downtown entirely might be a good idea or if you do go Downtown just go down later on one of the days (after 6PM) and just do that for 4-5 hours.

    --> If you are going to be paying for anything (rooms, food, etc) or putting it on your credit card then get the money from them upfront - it is easier to ask for the money up front than it is to try and track them down afterwards and get paid back. Don't worry about it sounding rude or anything, rude would be them not paying you up front. If you need an excuse to get you through the request then just say that you need the money to make room on your card for their reservation.
    Of note: when you do a family and friend reservation you can put your room on your credit card and then they can be on the line to put the room on their credit cards - Skype is a good way to work this

    --> For dining: when you are placing your order just ask the waitress then for separate checks. Don't worry about running it past everybody first or anything, just when the waitress comes to take your order just look to her first and say "Yes, I am ready to order. We will need separate checks, and I will have the..." The only people who don't like separate checks up front are those who were planning to screw the others over in the first place by ordering a more expensive item(s).

    --> Don't try to plan every moment together. Allow some free roaming time (this can be when you can run off to Downtown to play your game). Your group size isn't very big (5 people) but it can still be hard to keep that many together: even though you'll be on Eastern Time somebody will probably be up at 6-7AM locally and go down to the casino or at the end of the night when everybody is pooped and ready for bed somebody will be too excited and jazzed up to go to sleep and want to keep on gambling or drinking or whatever. Plus during the day people might want to do different stuff like you might go to Bellagio to see the fountains and the conservatory, but then some might want to wander the shopping area and look at all the stores while others don't, who might want to gamble a little or another wants to go see more attractions.

    --> Don't forget that its your vacation too. Plan for some "you time" to be able to do some of the things you want to do and if they don't want to then they can either come along or go their own way. That might sound contradictory to the Ellis Island comment above, but that was more about what time you arrive and it being first night with first timers... you might do the Ellis Island thing 2nd or 3rd night as a better plan.
     
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