While based in Los Angeles, the Mystery Trip team has been doing trips nationwide for a number of years, Green says. We’ve worked in a dozen cities so far, and have a few more already lined up for this year. Green cites the Velveteria (a museum of velvet art) in L.A. as one of his favorite spots, as well as a bowling alley in Chicago that happens to be located in the basement of a funeral home as two of his all-time favorite Mystery Trip destinations. “Though the bowling alley is closed on days when they hold memorials,” Green adds.
And while the destinations have evolved over the years, the surprise element of not knowing the destination remains the crux of the concept.
“Because the “mystery” of Mystery Trip is that no one (from a VP down to an EA) knows what they’ll be doing, the entire group has this shared visceral experience together,” Green says. “Stepping onto a bus—destination unknown—is a great equalizer, and it organically lowers the walls between people as they go through the event, allowing them to bond in a unique and memorable way.”
There are many factors that set Mystery Trip apart from other event planning companies, Green explains. First, each of the events is custom-made, starting with the “why” and working backwards to create unique experiences for the guests. “A post-sales meeting offsite has different needs than a client appreciation event, which has different goals than a conference networking event,” he says.
As far as the takeaways for guests are concerned, it’s a lot about experiencing the new, Green says, and that means getting people a little out of their comfort zones. He adds that it’s also a way for the participants to experience something they wouldn’t do on their own and to have fun and learn a little bit about themselves in the process.“The thing I hear the most is that they [meeting planners] are looking for an experience that will bring their team together,” Green says. “Too often, people are in their own lane not paying attention to others around them, even if they ‘know’ them, they don’t really know them.”
Finally, Green says, a goal of Mystery Trip is to have people learn more about themselves, and to bond with unfamiliar colleagues. He says one way is to let them divide themselves into groups of five. “They’ll inherently group up with four friends,” Green says. “We’ll then give each person in a group a number, and then tell them to find the similar numbers, so they are then grouped up with people they wouldn’t necessarily have ever chosen to team up with. This opens up organic interaction and dialogue.”