Reserving a hotel based on the room rate often does not always serve the groups purpose and will lead to dissatisfied classmates.
Listed below are the exact steps you need to take in order to select the right hotel for your class reunion.
Step 1: Get Group Hotel Rates Online
Most people get frustrated getting group rates because they try to call every hotel individually.
Doing so requires that you place a call to every hotel on your list, ask for proposals, receive and compare offers and them decide on a hotel. This is not only time consuming, it also does not incentivise the hotel to provide you with their best group rates.
Instead, use the power of the internet to get group hotel rates online for your class reunion. Just fill out our Group Hotel Rates request form and hotels in your desired city and price range will email their group rates for free.
Plus, hotels will provide lower group hotel rates knowing that they are competing with dozens of other hotels for your business.
Once you have group hotel rates in your desired city, it is time to narrow down your choices to three or four. That’s where step two comes in.
Step 2: Narrow your choices down to two or three hotels
There are dozens of hotel brands to choose from nowadays and selecting one that will accommodate your class reunion can often seem like a daunting task if you don’t know what you are looking for. Follow the advice below and you’ll get a great hotel at a reasonable price.
Look at online reviews
Check out the hotels reviews online on a site like Tripadvisor and remove all the hotels that have less than a three star rating. That will filter out most of the worst hotels on your list.
Focus on 2-3 star hotels
While four and five star hotel are nice to look at it, they generally have many clauses and rules that cannot be changed. For instance, many of the luxury hotels we have dealt with do not waive their attrition clauses for class reunions (see below). So if enough rooms are not booked by your classmates, you will be required to pay for them anyways.
On the other hand, most two or three star hotels are affordable for the average person attending the class reunion and happen to be very flexible with their contracts. Many will offer complimentary rooms and take no deposit at the time of contracting. In addition, many of these 2-3 star hotel offer a free full breakfast too.
Look for generous terms and conditions
When a hotel sends you a group rate, they will list their terms and conditions. The three that you want to focus on are:
Attrition Clause – This is a clause that states that you have to pay for a certain percentage of rooms regardless of whether your classmates make the reservations. In effect, you are guaranteeing the hotel a certain number of rooms regardless of usage. If the hotel refuses to remove this clause, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
Courtesy Room Block – When looking to block hotel rooms, look for a hotel that is willing to give you a courtesy room block. In this arrangement, a hotel will guarantee a discounted group rate for your class reunion members without any minimum rooms reserved clauses. There are no deposits or attrition clauses to contend with.
This kind of room block is generally offered to a lot of brides when they block hotel rooms so ask the hotel to offer you the same. Read “What Is A Courtesy Room Block? Do I Need One For My Class Reunion”
No deposits – A deposit of around 10% is usually expected at the time of contracting. Many hotels will waive this if you only need 20 or 30 rooms.
Look for some great amenities
Hotel chains like Holiday Inn Express, Best Western, Hampton Inn, and Homewood Suites offer a full breakfast as part of their room rate. This is very beneficial to your class reunion attendees as they wont have to spring an additional $10 per person per day for breakfast.
When comparing breakfast offerings from hotels, pay special attention to the type of free breakfast being offered. Is it a continental or deluxe breakfast? Or is it a Full Hotel Breakfast (preferred choice). Continental and deluxe breakfasts are simple cereal and bagel type offerings with some juice. The full hot breakfast usually incorporates freshly cooked eggs, pancakes, muffins etc.
Many of your classmates will need a place to hang out after dinner or during a lull and a hospitality suite serves just that purpose. Many hotels offer this room on a complimentary basis to class reunions so make sure to ask during the site tour.
If you are hosting any kind of catered event (dinner banquet or a luncheon), then ask for discounted pricing at the hotel where you blocked rooms. Traditionally, menu prices are discounted by at least 10% along with special pricing on A/V equipment and meeting room rental.
Hotels offer a comp ratio to groups like class reunions all the time. When shopping for group hotel rates, make sure to account for the comp ratio when comparing offers. A comp ratio is the ratio of rooms that have to be reserved in order to get one for free.
For example, if your group has a 1:20 comp ratio, then every 20 rooms reserved (and paid for) will equate one free room for the class reunion. Normally, the free rooms go to volunteers like committee members or the reunion chairperson. Read “How To Get a Free Room When Booking a Hotel For a Class Reunion”
When you taken all the above into consideration, you should have a list of hotels no longer than two or three. Let’s move to step 3
Step 3: Select one hotel
If you have followed the steps above, then make a final decision between the remaining hotels by taking the following into consideration.
Proximity To School
It seems obvious but make sure the hotel is close to the school where your class reunion is being held. Ideally, its best if the school is a short drive or within walking distance.
While it may not seem relevant at first, the flexibility a hotel shows when you are blocking rooms is very important. If they are willing to lower the deposit or waive attrition fees, then you know they really want your business. It’s better to block hotel rooms where they are willing to service their clients’ needs versus servicing their own rules.
If you are torn between two hotels and one of them is being very generous with their time and attention, choose that one. Not only will you have an easier time dealing with them during contracting, you will also find it beneficial when you need something during the actual class reunion.
In order to select the perfect hotel for your class reunion, you should follow the steps below:
Step 1: Get group rates from dozens of hotels near the site of your class reunion
Step 2: Look at room rate, amenities, and contract clauses to narrow down your choices to 3-4 hotels.
Step 3: Finalize one hotel based on how flexible the hotel is, how close it is to the school, and how badly they want your business.
What should you do next?
Get started by getting group hotel rates.