Whether you are having a hometown family reunion or destination family reunion, you are going to need to block hotel rooms.
If your family reunion is going to need more than 10 hotel rooms, then you should put together an accommodations committee.
This committee’s primary responsibility is to research, negotiate and finalize a contract with a hotel for the family reunion.
In order to get the process started, the accommodations committee should have the following questions answered.
What Are You Looking For?
Before the accommodations committee begins its research into hotels, they should be given some direction as to what the needs are for the family reunion. Here are some questions that need to be answered before any research into group hotel rates can begin (For more details, read “What are the most commonly requested amenities by family reunions at a hotel“):
1. What is our budget per room per night?
2. How many hotel rooms do we need?
3. Will we need a hospitality suite? (Tip: Yes, you do). A hospitality suite is a private room that can be used as a hang out space for all the attendees of your family reunion. Hotels will generally allow you to bring snacks and soda into this room and many will also provide ice buckets or refrigerators to keep things cool. If you block and pay for enough hotel rooms, the hospitality suite is generally free.
4. Should the location of the hotel be in a central part of town(expensive) or a few minutes outside (Cheaper)
5. What activities will the family reunion take part in? And how close should they be to the hotel? If the activity is too far from the hotel, transportation costs will go up.
6. Do we need to pool at the hotel for the kids to play in?
7. Do you only want to consider hotels that offer free breakfast?
8. Do we want to consider hotels that only have free Wi-Fi?
9. What kind of star rating and hotel reviews are acceptable to the family reunion planning committee?
The above questions need to be answered for the accommodations committee to get started on the research. After all, it would be a waste of time for them to research and collect information on hotels without pools if that were to be a requirement. Once you have the answers, start the research.
Group Rates For Hotels
Once the accommodations committee knows what the requirements are, they can request group hotel rates online. Simply fill out one form and hotels in your desired city, star rating and budget will respond (within minutes) with group rates for your family reunion.
When filling out the form, make sure to add any special requirements in the comment section. Common ones are:
- We want to know what the comp(stands for complimentary) ratio is for your hotel? I.e. How many rooms do we have to book to get a free hotel room? If the comp ratio is 1 for 12 then it means that your family reunion will get one free room for every 12 that are paid for.
- We want a hotel that offers free breakfast
- We want a hotel that offers a hospitality suite for free
- We want a hotel that offers free shuttle to/from airport.
Select a couple of the items above and copy and paste them into the comments section in the group hotel rates form.
Narrow Your Choices
Hotels will respond with group rates for your family reunion almost instantly. Go over the offers presented by hotels and narrow the choices down to 3-4 hotels. Contact the hotels and set up a site tour to visually inspect the property.
When visiting hotels, use the family reunion hotel inspection checklist. While at the hotel, try to get a feel for the staff (Friendly, etc), cleanliness, and decor. Ask yourself the following questions.
1. Will the family members feel comfortable in this hotel
2. Is the surrounding area inviting?
3. Are there restaurants nearby?
4. Is the decor of the rooms and lobby updated?
5. Does the hotel look clean?
6. Is the staff receptive to ideas? Friendly?
7. Does it seem that the hotel management wants the business? Did they accompany you on the site tour?
The questions above along with the checklist should give you enough information about what to look for in a hotel for your family reunion.
Present Your Findings To The Family Reunion Committee
Take the information collected from your hotel on-site inspections and put together a spreadsheet that is easy to read so you can present it to the family reunion planning committee for a final vote. Make sure to include the following in your presentation
2. Amenities included (Free breakfast, hospitality suite etc.)
3. Discounted banquet pricing etc.
4. Surrounding area
5. Proximity to local attractions
7. The recommendations of the Accommodations committee
Have the family reunion planning committee vote on which hotel they would like to work with. Once a decision is reached, inform the hotel and ask to see a contract.
What should you do next?
Since you’re looking for a hotel for a family reunion, learn more about how to block rooms.