Class reunion volunteers are not professional event planners so they don’t always know what questions to ask a hotel when blocking rooms for a class reunion.
Many end up with room block contracts that are very one sided because the class reunion planner simply agreed to everything the hotel asked for without negotiating.
Not asking the right questions ends up costing everyone more money by increasing the costs for both your classmates, and the reunion committee.
This article lists questions you should ask a hotel before signing a contract for your class reunion room block. Use them to make more knowledgeable decisions for your event.
Related: Block Hotel Rooms For A Class Reunion
Will The Hotel Provide Free Breakfast If We Block Hotel Rooms?
A free breakfast is one of the most requested amenities by guests. When comparing hotels for your class reunion, we would give special preference to the ones that offer it.
If your desired hotel does not offer a free breakfast to its guests, then its time to negotiate with the hotel sales manager. Start by asking if they will offer the breakfast to your guests for free since you are booking [x] number of rooms. If your class reunion is large enough, he/she may just say yes.
If a completely free breakfast is not an option, then ask for a discounted rate of 50% off their regular price. Also, ask to see if they can reserve a certain area of the breakfast room just for your classmates so everyone can eat together.
Lastly, if the hotel just does not want to budge on breakfast, then threaten to take your business to another hotel that does offer a full hot breakfast for free.
You may think that a free breakfast is not important enough to walk away but consider the cost increase for each of your classmates. Every morning, your guests will have to pay at least $10-$15 per person in addition to what they are already paying for the room. If you can save them this additional expense, then it is worth the hassle.
Will You Waive The WiFi Fee?
After breakfast, the second most important amenity that classmates want is free WiFi. There are not a lot of things that bug people more than having to fork over ten or fifteen dollars a day for internet access. Make every effort to block rooms at a hotel that offers WiFi for free.
If you have to reserve a hotel that charges for internet, then try to have the fee waived. It is common practice for most hotels to waive any WiFi charges for groups such as class reunions.
How Can I Block Hotel Rooms With No Deposit?
Most hotel sales managers will ask for at least a 10% deposit when you book the class reunion. The deposit guarantees that the rooms will be held for the specified time according to your contract. Also, the deposit may be used towards any rooms that are guaranteed but were not reserved in your room block.
Having the deposit waived is a common practice when it comes to groups that are taking up 30 rooms or less. When contracting, be firm about not having to pay for a deposit and see what the hotel says. In many cases, they will agree provided that your cut-off date to make reservations is 30 days or more.
Can We Have A Contract With No Attrition Clauses? Do You Offer a Courtesy Room Block?
An attrition clause is when a group (such as a class reunion) agrees to compensate the hotel if it does not use a certain percentage of the room block. In most cases, the standard attrition rate is 80%. As an example, if a group blocks a 100 rooms, and only uses 75 of them, then they are liable to pay for an additional five rooms based on an 80% attrition rate clause.
Ask the hotel to remove any attrition clauses for your class reunion. Unlike larger conferences and meetings, the attendance at a class reunion is very difficult to predict. Just look at the last few years of attendance at a college like Dartmouth University.
As you can see, attendance has ranged from 15% all the way to 40% in some years.
If the hotel sales manager cannot remove the attrition clause, then either select a different hotel or block a small number of rooms with the option to add more if you need them.
There are some hotels that will offer you a courtesy room block for a class reunion. In this case, there is no deposit, no attrition clause, and no cancellation fees. There are certain restrictions though and if you want to know more, read “What Is A Courtesy Room Block? Do I Need One For My Class Reunion”
Many hotels charge for transportation to and from the airport. Avoid this as much as possible as the costs can be very high. Instead of having classmates spend and extra $15-$30 for a shuttle, why not book a slightly higher priced hotel that offers free transportation.
In most cases, the hospitality suite is a standard add on at many class reunions. Most hotels provide them on a complimentary basis. They can be as large as a full meeting room and as small as a hotel room. Ask the hotel if they would have a problem with you bringing in snacks and drinks for classmates (Much cheaper than buying snacks from the hotel).
What Kind Of Comp Ratio Are You Offering?
A comp ratio is the number of free rooms a hotel will provide based on the total rooms reserved (and paid for). For example, if your comp ratio is 1:25 and your class reunion pays for 100 rooms, then four of those rooms will be comped.
Generally speaking, the comp ratio at 2-3 star hotels ranges from 1:20 to 1:30. Hotels in the 4-5 star rating usually offer a 1:50 room comp ratio.
Are There Any Additional Fees?
Ask about any fees that the hotel charges its guests that are not related to tax. Many hotels charge weird fees like resort fee, safe fees, set-up fee and more recently, housekeeping fees. Knowing ahead of time about these fees can help you keep them in check. Just let classmates know about them so they are not surprised with a huge bill at checkout.
Getting group rates, comparing hotels, and then finalizing a contract require a lot of knowledge that you many not already have. With the questions above, you will be on your way to carving out a great deal for your class reunion.
If you want to continue learning, read “How To Reserve Hotel Rooms For A Class Reunion”.