If you are planning a class reunion, then you will have to block hotel rooms for classmates that have moved out of town.
The hotel selection committee is primarily responsible for selecting a hotel that offers discounted group rates so everyone attending the class reunion will find it affordable and comfortable.
While it may not sound like a complicated job, this committee requires at least two to three people that are business minded and are willing to negotiate hard for what they want.
A travel agent or a business owner (or both) would be an ideal leader of this committee.
In this article, we are going to go over the individual responsibilities of the hotel selection committee in chronological order so it is easy to follow.
Each responsibility has a description and some additional tips that will make the whole process easier.
Get Group Rates For Hotels
When looking for group rates, most people think that they have to call hotels individually. But this process is inefficient as it takes up too much time. Imagine having to search for a dozen hotel telephone numbers, ask for the sales office, and go over the details of your class reunion with each one separately. And that’s if you don’t get their voice mail.
A faster way is to send out a group hotel rates request and have the same hotels email you their group rates. Not only is this service free, it is also faster. As soon as you submit the request, hotels will respond with group rates for your class reunion.
Once you have the rates, it is time to compare hotels.
Comparing hotels is not as simple as looking at rates and thinking “This looks good, let’s book it”. Since every class reunion has different needs, you will need to decide on which of the following criteria is most important when comparing hotels. Things you should consider are the following:
- Attrition rates offered – Ideally, you want no attrition rates. Ask for a Courtesy Room Block instead.
- Cancellation policies – What is the penalty if you cancel your event? Do you lose your entire deposit? Or a partial amount?
- Reservation cut off period – This is the number of days before the event that your attendees have to make their reservations at the group rate. Past this date, the rooms are no longer held for your group.
- Location – Ideally, you want the location to be within five miles so it is easy to go back and forth.
- Group rate offered – The lower the better but take into account the amenities below. They can add up fast.
- Amenities – Free breakfast, free WiFi, free shuttle.
If you need help deciding on a hotel or want to learn how to compare offers, read “How To Select A Hotel For Your Class Reunion in less than a half hour”
Once you have narrowed your choices to a manageable number (3-4 hotels), it is time negotiate with each. Start by scheduling a site inspection at each hotel.
Ready To Negotiate
During the site tour of each property, make sure you pay attention to the following:
- Decor and ambiance of lobby
- Floors vacuumed? Shampooed?
- How knowledgeable is the staff about the surrounding area? Attractions?
- Appearance of hotel staff
- Room decor, cleanliness
- Is the hotel near public transportation
- Is the hotel in a busy area that may be noisy
If you are satisfied, it is time to negotiate.
Finalize Details Before Class Reunion
About four to six weeks before the class reunion, a hotel selection committee member should call the hotel to begin finalizing the details.
They should confirm the number of rooms that have been reserved under the room block. Also, they can ask for a rooming list (also called a pickup report) to see which classmates reserved rooms.
If the cut off date is nearby, send out a mass email to everyone reminding them that the hotel will not hold rooms past a certain date. Anyone making a reservation after the cut off date will pay full price instead of the group rate that was negotiated.
After The Class Reunion
Once the class reunion is over, ask the hotel to provide a report on how many hotel rooms were used. Make sure to pass along this information to the alumni office so they can continue to maintain their attendance records.
Also, ask for a final receipt from the hotel along with any deposit that is due back to the class reunion.
About a month after the class reunion, you will start receiving feedback from your classmates regarding the hotel, amenities, and other information via the Post Class Reunion Survey. Make sure to note any specifics that may come in handy during the next reunion and submit your findings to the class reunion chair.
The responsibilities of the hotel selection committee are pretty straightforward. With the step by step instructions above, they should be able to secure a great hotel for the class reunion.
What should you read next?
Learn more about blocking hotel rooms for a class reunion. You can save up to 70% off regular room rates.