The Greek Islands are a Top Incentive Travel Destination
If you happened to catch my last blog post on Greece, then you know I promised to write a follow-up post focusing on the Greek islands. For many of us, when we think about the Grecian islands, we think of the picturesque scene of the white buildings with royal blue roofs overlooking the crashing waves of Santorini. However, there are many factors to consider, besides this spectacular view when deciding if the Greek islands are the right fit for your incentive group.
Which Island is Best for Your Group?
As you can imagine, each island has its own strengths that position itself to be a fit for specific types of groups. Being that these are small islands, group size will likely be a big deciding factor in understanding which island would be a good fit. Our partners at Horizon Travel provided the helpful information below that gives you insight into each island’s unique vibe and ideal group size.
Popular for its summer party atmosphere, Mykonos is a fantastic option for younger crowds that want to mix in some nightlife and days at the beach into their incentive trip itinerary.
Island Vibe: A cosmopolitan island where jet setters often visit for the summer holidays
Ideal group size: Medium size groups ranging from 50-200 people
Where Mykonos is a little more cosmopolitan and fast-paced, Santorini is better suited for groups that like to take in their surroundings. With volcano tours, hikes, wineries, and breathtaking views, Santorini is a must-see for those that want to stop and take in the splendor of the Greek Islands.
Island Vibe: A unique volcano island, famous for the Caldera views and unforgettable sunsets
Ideal group size: Small groups roughly 20-50 people
Crete is rich with historical sites, culture, and mythology! The island is dotted with castles and palaces influenced by a mix of Greek and Venetian architecture. Several ancient archaeological sites are open for public exploration.
Island Vibe: An authentic and rural island focused on tradition and culture
Ideal group size: Most diverse being able to accommodate small to large groups ranging from 50 – 500 people
How to Get to Each Island
There are a few options to choose from, but they all pretty much start with flying into Athens. Once you are there, you have a couple of forms of transportation available to you to get to each area. Mykonos is accessible by either a 2-hour ferry ride or a 35-minute flight. Most visitors opt-in to take the ferry because after factoring in the additional time it takes to get in and out of the airport, the time to get there is relatively similar for both options. Santorini is best reached by a 45-minute flight as the ferry ride can be 4.5+ hours depending on the type of ferry. For Crete, the only real option suitable for groups would be to fly (roughly 1 hour), as the ferry ride is going to come out to around 7 hours one way!
Best Hotels for Incentive Trips in the Greek Islands
Once you get there, it’s important to understand what properties can best cater to incentive travel groups.
In Mykonos, the Myconian collection offers two luxury properties, Myconian Imperial and Myconian Royal that are well versed in the MICE market and members of Leading Hotels of the World. Both are top-tier options for those seeking the VIP treatment to accommodate their night out on the town or coming back from a long day at the beach.
Moving over to Crete, the 5-star Blue Palace Hotel offers arguably the most pristine private beach on the island while the 4.5-star Porto Elounda Spa and Golf Resort is friendlier to your budget while still providing access to high-end amenities such as 9-hole onsite golf and award-winning Six Senses Spa. For a very high-end group, this property also has a selection of gulf villas (pictured below) with stunning views and private accommodations to create an even more exclusive feel.
Lastly, Santorini was tough for us to offer our best recommendations considering most of the properties, although beautiful, are very small and made up of many different room categories making it tough for the incentive travel market. However, our top recommendations here are either the Vedema or Mystique, both repped by Marriott in their luxury resort collection with around 40-45 rooms each.
When is the Best Time to Travel to the Greek Islands?
Unlike Athens, these locations would not be considered year-round destinations. In order to be able to utilize and truly experience the beautiful beaches, the best times to travel are late April through June or September to early October, where the temperature averages between (70°-80° Fahrenheit). July and August are extremely hot, and the summer months will be very tough to find group room blocks as transient travel is very high for the European market during this time. However, it’s worth noting that with the increase in popularity of each of these islands, hotels should be sourced well in advance to secure the opportunity to get the group size you need. As we are hearing more and more in our industry, booking early does seem to be key when deciding to bring a group to the Greek Islands as space can be tough to come by.
The Greek islands are definitely all the rage and without a doubt an amazing destination to travel to. However, it’s our job as planners to be able to know details and guide our clients or stakeholders to the most realistic option for their group size and attendee profile. Hopefully, this post can give us all the extra knowledge to be able to offer that next level of customer service in consulting those looking into the Greek islands for their next incentive trip! Head over to our incentive travel page to find out what other bright ideas we have up our sleeve.
If you’re looking for ways to revamp your incentive travel program, check out these 9 tips to improving your trip!