by Brennen Lutz | January 17th, 2013
All About Group Travel will again be offering its services in helping World Cup teams and fans to find lodging and other event related necessities. They have been the International Quidditch Association’s partner of choice for organizing accommodations at IQA events for a quite a long time.
Sammy the Squirrel, the AAGT mascot, is becoming a ubiquitous presence at IQA events. Photo credit: All About Group Travel
The quidditch community first collaborated with AAGT during World Cup V. Marie Sperling, owner and president of All About Group Travel said, “When I first heard of quidditch being played I was very intrigued by the concept… I then contacted Alex Benepe to see if the IQA would need any assistance with travel planning and discussed the World Cup V.
“I offered my services to the IQA in the hopes that I could help them further the sport by having more organized and traceable travel packages, offering on-site assistance, and keeping the pricing affordable,” Sperling continued. She said this information would be useful to the IQA in the future for negotiating lower pricing.
In the past, All About Group Travel has participated in World Cup V, QuidCon 2012, the Canadian Cup and the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northeast Regionals. “We have also assisted many teams [in finding] accommodations when attending smaller tournaments, and helped some teams with their transportation needs. AAGT will do whatever we can to work with any team and their specific needs. We believe in this sport and welcome the opportunity to help any team that needs it,” Sperling added.
Sperling said her company stood out because “AAGT also goes a step above other travel companies by being on-site, pre-checking in all rooms and helping at the tournaments in any way we can. Even if it’s only bringing hot chocolate to the staff, we do what we can to help.”
This year, teams are being presented with a number of hotel options by AAGT. “The accommodations being offered in Kissimmee vary between suite-style properties and resort-style properties,” Sperling explained. “These hotels offer a bit more than the standard hotels we utilized in New York, for example some of the suites sleeping up to 10 people.” This year’s World Cup is only slightly more expensive for teams to attend, but, unlike last year, “Everyone on the team pays one price.”
Sperling said that each hotel option AAGT was offering would fit teams differently, but that each was a good option. “The Radisson has a very relaxing resort-style feel to it, as well as the Holiday Inn, while the Royale Parc Suites and Palms Resort both have the feeling of being at home with full kitchens,” she elaborated. “Comfort Inn and Suites has a hotel feel to it that is clean and crisp, and it is in walking distance to the infamous Kissimmee Old Town for dining, fun and excitement.
“Celebration Suites is also in walking distance to Old Town and is our lower budget option,” mentioned Sperling. Celebrations Suites will cost $20 less per person than the other options on both the two-night and the three-night option. However, space is limited. “We are bound to utilizing specific hotels due to the generosity of the Kissimmee CVB [Conventions and Visitors Bureau] in organizing this event for the IQA,” Sperling explained.
Transportation will also change in Kissimmee. “In New York, the airport transfers were provided by the hotels,” Sperling said. “The hotels were within a five mile radius of the airport and about 10 minutes to the field. In Kissimmee, the hotels are approximately 30 minutes from the airport, and approximately 30 minutes from the field.”
According to Sperling, the best way to transport everyone is to use 56-passenger motor coaches. This was one of the reasons for the slight price increase from last year. She said that teams do not have to buy the package with included transportation, but that it may be more affordable to choose AAGT’s options. She said, “Once a team splits the cost of renting vans, along with the insurance, gas, and mileage – many van rentals do not come with unlimited mileage and given the distance between the airport, hotels and field, those miles will add up quickly – they may indeed find out they paid more than if they booked the whole package and let us worry about their transportation.”
Sperling offered a few more reasons as to why teams should use AAGT’s transportation. She said the road leading to the field is a two-lane road, and hopefully by using the buses, there will be less traffic. She also said that AAGT would organize when teams arrive at the Cup, another thing teams don’t have to worry about. Sperling said, “Less stress can be a beautiful thing!”
“Sometimes things can certainly look cheaper on paper, however once you add in all of the additional expenses (i.e. tax, gratuity, resort fees, transportation, gas, parking, tolls, insurance, etc,) you may find out that you are paying the same or more than if you purchased the travel package. The bottom line is, AAGT will help any team, in any situation to the best of our ability to make their travel as easy and affordable as possible.”
The continued support of AAGT means that players can be excited for the return of World Cup bracelets in team packages. The bracelets provided by AAGT at World Cup V were a huge hit, and many continued to wear them long after the tournament finished. Players that are still wearing last year’s bracelets will finally be able to take their bracelet off and put on a World Cup VI one.