Not likely, right?
You would have looked at several car manufacturer websites, price comparison websites, and a car ratings website too.
And yet, time and again, family reunion planners will block hotel rooms without researching the location or getting competitive quotes. The result is higher group hotel rates that cost the entire family more money than it should.
In order to maximize savings when blocking hotel rooms, follow these simple steps.
So What Are The Right Steps To Block Hotel Rooms For A Family Reunion?
Start by getting group hotel rates
There are two ways to get group rates for hotels. You can call hotels directly or fill out this group hotel rates form. Once you submit the form, hotels will send their group hotel rates almost instantly by email. At the time of this writing, there are over 40,000 hotels participating in this free service so you can expect dozens of hotels in your desired area to provide group rates for your family reunion.
Next, select three to four hotels and contact them to schedule site tours of the facility. It’s one thing to see pictures and a whole other to actually visit the place in person. We would highly recommend a site visit (we have even created a hotel selection checklist for it).
If it’s not physically possible to see the hotels, then make sure to read and compare their reviews on TripAdvisor.com, Yelp.com, and CitySearch.com
Know The Perks, err…Freebies
Having narrowed your choices to three or four hotels, speak to the sales department to see if they will offer additional perks to sweeten the deal. Negotiate with the hotel sales manager for some of the following:
1. Free hospitality suite for the reunion – This is usually a meeting room or an overnight room where you can store supplies, congregate during down time and play games.
2. Free hotel rooms (It is normal practice for hotels to give family reunions one free room for every twenty that are paid for. Some hotels require a higher number, some lower).
3. If you are blocking hotel rooms, you may also want to ask that your family rooms are on the same floor or as close as possible.
4. Discounted meeting room and food prices for banquets
5. Free transportation for family reunion members to/from airport etc.
6. Free Wifi or free breakfast.
Before Making a Final Decision, Consider These Tips
Seasoned family reunion planners will tell you that the following tips are a great way to ensure that your family has a good time at the hotel.
Connecting rooms – Families come in all sizes and shapes. Many will require connecting rooms because of younger kids (If you do not get connecting rooms, then mommy has to sleep in one room with some kids while daddy has to sleep in another room with the other kids). This leads to dissatisfaction amongst your attendees so make sure you ask the hotel about how many connecting rooms it has and whether they can guarantee them to you.
Marquee – Most hotels will put up your family name on the Marquee for free. You just have to ask. Wouldn’t it be nice to drive up to the hotel with the marquee lit up welcoming your family (e.g. “Welcome Williams Family Reunion”)
Private Breakfast – This one is tough to negotiate but if you can swing it, consider yourself an expert. Will the hotel offer a private breakfast for your family? In many cases hotels will offer this amenity at a minimal cost (Especially if the regular breakfast is free).
Free Breakfast – If you are looking to save money, then be sure to select a hotel that offers free breakfast. There are many mid scale hotel chains that offer free breakfast already such as Best Western, Holiday Inn Express, and Hampton Inn. Block hotel rooms at one of these chains and your family will save at least $5-20 per person per day in breakfast cost.
How many hotel rooms are you blocking? – If you are blocking a small amount of rooms, you should ask for a courtesy block. This kind of block does not require a deposit or a guarantee. If you are blocking more than 50 rooms, the hotel will require some kind of guarantee to “hold” them.
Take advantage of size – If you are having a large family reunion, your bargaining power is considerable so make sure you don’t jump at the first offer. Continue to stress the large number of hotel rooms needed and you should be able to get some great concession from the hotel of your choice.
Late Pool Hours – Many hotels will offer late pool hours for family reunions. Remember to ask if this is a possibility.
Blocking hotel rooms for your family reunion is not hard so long as you know where to look and what to ask. The tips above will help you secure discounted group rates for hotels.
What should you do next?
Block hotel rooms for your family reunion by getting group rates today. Remember that hotel rates go up as your reunion dates get closer so get started now. It’s free so you’ve got nothing to lose.