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Make It a Surprise!

By Amanda Christensen

While most meeting planners organize each aspect of an event down to the table arrangements and time of guest arrival, adding an element of surprise and handing the reins off to mystery professionals can intrigue attendees and keep them on their toes. Mystery Trip, a Los Angeles-based team-bonding event-planning company, does just that. “The mystery is that none of the guests know what they’re doing until they experience it,” says Dave Green, chief mysterious officer for the company. 

Guests take a helicopter ride with Mystery Trip. May 24, 2023
Guests take a helicopter ride with Mystery Trip CREDIT Mystery Trip

From behind-the-scenes tours and yoga on the beach to sailing regattas and hot-air ballooning, the opportunities are endless. Mystery Trip took a team from Netflix around Griffith Park in Los Angeles and filmed a cheesy ’90s sitcom intro; and an international group from YouTube was taken to the studio where the song “We Are the World” was recorded. 

“By keeping it a mystery … it levels the playing field,” Green notes, emphasizing that the goal of this planning strategy is to have participants be their most authentic selves and truly engage with each other. The company is accessible nationwide and can host groups of 10 to 250 just about anywhere, both off-site or on-site at a hotel or event venue. 

When creating these custom-made experiences, Mystery Trip connects with clients via a kick-off call to get to know the group, who they are, and what they’re looking for. The company then creates an itinerary from the information they receive. Once the activities are approved, the Mystery Trip teams organize the transportation, meals, and activities. “All they have to do is show up and have a good time,” Green says. “My favorite part of the job is that I get people at their best. They’re out of the office, having a good time, and they’re exploring.”