Doing a hotel site inspection for a class reunion serves two purposes.
Doing one will help you get familiar with hotel management and will help you make a decision of whether the hotel can serve your needs from a space and cost perspective
While much of the research into hotels can be done online, there is nothing like seeing how it actually operated.
Without a site inspection, it would be difficult to see how friendly the staff is or whether the rooms really are as good looking as the photos online.
While there is no set number, we would recommend that you visit at least three hotels to conduct a site inspection when planning a class reunion.
In addition to the detailed explanation below, here is a free hotel site inspection checklist for a class reunion. Feel free to download and use it for your next hotel site insepection.
Here are the six key components you should be thinking about when you visit each hotel. Some of them involve research that should be done ahead of time.
While it may sound intuitive, we still have to mention it. If you do not feel like the hotel staff is inviting and helpful, then do not book there. It’s better to book your class reunion at a hotel with a not so perfect location than to book with a hotel that does not understand the meaning of hospitality.
During your site inspection, take mental notes on how the staff treats everyone. Are they friendly? Are they inviting and hospitable or rude and oblivious? Is the sales manager in a rush to get the site inspection over with or are they taking their time to explain everything to you?
Another aspect you want to investigate at the site inspection is the tenure of all the managers at the property. How long has the sales manager been employed there? How long has the food and beverage manager and the general manager been at the same property?
A long standing staff equates to a stable work environment and experienced staff. This is important because your class reunion is more than likely six months to a year away and you don’t want to deal with an entirely new staff when you get there.
Speaking of experience, ask about how many class reunions the hotel has hosted. Ask to see any pictures that they may have from previous reunions, and get some referrals. Also, once the hotel site inspection is over, consider calling the alumni office to see what they have to say about the hotel.
This part of the hotel site inspection is pretty self explanatory. Just make sure that the rooms are clean and well appointed. Look to see if the rooms appear noisy (Can you hear the highway outside?).
As you walk the lobby and the hallways, look for any cleanliness issues, stained ceiling tiles, dirty baseboards etc. Are the hallways well lit? Are the room signs visible? Is the lobby clean and inviting? Do they offer simple touches like free coffee or a cookie at check in?
Is the parking lot have trash that has not been picked up? Does it look neglected? Look to see if there are potholes. A poorly maintained parking lot is a bad omen for what you will find inside the hotel.
Here is what you should be looking at in the meeting rooms:
- Does the hotel have enough meeting space to hold a class reunion?
- Are the meeting rooms clean and well maintained?
- Are the meeting rooms well lit?
- Did you notice any obstructions in any of the meeting rooms that would make it difficult to hold a class reunion?
- Is there a dance floor? What condition is it in? How big is it? Is it movable or stationary?
- Are all the meeting rooms on the same floor?
- Are the meeting rooms on the same floor as the sleeping rooms?
Here are some questions to ask about the meeting rooms?
- Is WiFi available in the meeting rooms? Cost?
- Can you connect to the house sound system?
- Can you hang class reunion banners or signs in public areas?
- What kind of AV equipment is included in the meeting room price?
- Is there a discount on food and beverage if the class reunion blocks rooms at the hotel?
- How many places will the hotel set up beyond the stated number of guests?
- When does the hotel need final guarantee for the class reunion?
- Can you choose the linen colors to suit your reunion theme? If so, is there is a cost for the linen?
- How late can the class reunion go till?
- How late you play music?
- How expensive is the open bar? Is it feasible?
Part of the site inspection involves walking around the hotel to see the neighborhood. It is imperative to favor a location that is near the school so classmates are familiar with the area. Being in the same neighborhood encourages classmates to explore their past with the same friends that they used to hang out with in school.
For example, when we went to our class reunion, many of us got together at the same pizza place that we used to hang out in during lunch. We had a great time catching up with classmates as well as the owner of the restaurant.
Another advantage to being near the school is that the hotel may provide complimentary shuttle service back and forth. Make sure to ask about it during the site inspection.
Now that you know how important the location is, let’s look at the amenities.
Whether you are hosting your class reunion banquet at the hotel or at the school itself, it is important that certain amenities be available to classmates.
For example, most hotels will offer a hospitality suite where classmates can hang out after hours. It serves as a common place where people can gather and catch up, snack, and drink together.
Most hotels will provide the hospitality suite for free provided that you book enough hotel rooms for the class reunion. Another perk of blocking hotel rooms is that the class reunion will get complimentary rooms based on how many total rooms are reserved.
The comp rooms can be given to the planning committee members as a gift for the time they spent in organizing the class reunion.
Before the actual hotel site inspection, call the hotel to ask for any referrals from prior class reunions that hosted their event at the hotel. Then call the planner to ask what they thought of the hotel, and the staff. Take any negative aspects and make sure to address them during your site inspection.
Another source to look into is Tripadvisor.com. Take a look at the reviews on this website and ask about any negative comments to see what the hotel has to say. If you see a pattern of complaints about the same issue, address them during the site inspection.
The needs of your classmates will differ depending on the age group. When looking at the hotel, consider yourself as a test subject and see if the hotel would fit your needs.
For example, an older crowd will worry about whether there are enough accessible rooms in the hotel. For classmates that are in child rearing stage, you will need to make sure the hotel has connecting rooms. Try to anticipate the needs of your classmates ahead of time and mention them to the sales manager during the hotel site inspection.
Having read the above, you should feel confident going to your next hotel site inspection. You will know what to look for, and what questions to ask in order to determine the best location for your class reunion.
What should you do next?
Download the hotel site inspection checklist.
More Articles On Booking A Hotel For A Class Reunion
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- Questions To Ask Before Booking A Class Reunion
- How To Get Group Hotel Rates For A Class Reunion Without Making A Phone Call?
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