Make Sure To Negotiate Amenities For Your Family Reunion Hotel Room Block

Breakfast!The fan at my house has three settings. If I leave it on setting one, it’s too slow. And if I leave it on setting three, it’s usually too fast for my taste.

But setting two is perfect. It’s not too hot nor is it too cold.

Much like settings one and three on the fan, you and the hotel are on opposite sides when it comes to negotiating a contract for your family reunion room block. And both your goals should be to find setting two.

In order to help you negotiate, let’s look at some of the most common amenities/services that a family reunion wants from a hotel. As you read the list, just mark off the ones that matter to you the most and let the hotel know that these are important to you.

Most common amenities for a family reunion

Rewards points
Sign up for rewards points when you block hotel rooms for a family reunion. This is another free benefit that you should ask about when negotiating with the hotel sales manager. The accumulated points can be used towards online shopping (Marriott rewards lets you shop online at select stores), gift cards, free upgrades, and free hotel rooms.

Block Rooms Near Each Other
Most family reunions block hotel rooms at least a year in advance. Given that much time, the hotel should be able to prepare and block your family near each other or at least on the same floor. While this may not immediately seem like a big deal, you’ll realize what an incredible benefit it is once you attend your family reunion.

Also, families with young kids will generally need connecting rooms. Be sure to ask if the hotel has any and whether they can be pre-blocked for your attendees.

Free Wi-Fi
With everyone carrying around an iPad or an iPod, having free Wi-Fi becomes all the more important. When selecting hotels, we would rank free Wi-Fi as a top three most wanted amenity for any family reunion.

If you do decide on a hotel that still charges for Internet (and some still do), then negotiate your way out of it. Paying $15 a day for Wi-Fi for every room in your family reunion room block will add significantly to the final cost of your family reunion. Read “5 Amenities To Ask For When Blocking Hotel Rooms For A Family Reunion

Free Parking
Parking at most US hotels is generally free. However if your family reunion is in a big city like San Francisco or New York, you can expect to pay for parking as a regular guest. However, many of these hotels will waive any parking fees for large groups like family reunions. When discussing the details with hotel sales manager, make sure to ask if there are any parking fees and if so, have them removed.

Comp Ratio
The comp (stands for complimentary) ratio is the number of free rooms given to the group based on the number of rooms actually paid for. For example a comp ratio of 1 to 20 would mean that for every 20 paid rooms, one room would be free. Most family reunions give the complimentary rooms to the planners and volunteers.

Tip: Make sure to mention that you want the complimentary rooms on a cumulative basis as opposed to a daily basis. Also make sure the hotel will add any additional rooms used outside of the booking window (ex. during the shoulder dates)

Free Breakfast
Most midscale hotels are ideally suited for family reunions as they offer a free breakfast every morning. The irony is that luxury hotels that often charged twice as much per night don’t offer a free breakfast at all.

Having breakfast included in your room rate will save the average family about $40 a day. If you have decided on a hotel that does charge for breakfast, then try to negotiate a discounted rate. Or run to the nearest Dunkin Donuts every morning.

Hospitality Suite
If you’re planning a family reunion, you’re going to need a hospitality suite. Some hotels have dedicated meeting rooms that can use as hospitality suites while others will offer you a guestroom. This room is generally used as a place to hang out, and have snacks in. Most hotels will not charge for a hospitality suite, though some may assess a daily cleaning fee.

Free Transportation To Airport
If you have many family members flying in from out-of-town to attend a family reunion, that this can be a great perk. Instead of having to rent a car, a hotel shuttle can pick up your family reunion attendees for free. Many hotels, especially ones near airports, offer complimentary shuttle service.

Free Transportation To Family Reunion Activities
Most family reunions have at least one outing (ex. barbecue in the park) planned during the course of a family reunion. Instead of figuring out who is going to pick up your guests from the hotel, ask if the van driver can shuttle them to and from the park. Many hotels will offer the service as a complementary benefit so long as the park is nearby.

Late Checkout or Early Check In
Some of the family reunion members may arrive early due to a flight or may have to check out late for that same reason. Instead of hanging around the lobby or the airport, see if the hotel will offer a few early check ins or late check out’s.

Food and Beverage Discounts
If you’re booking rooms at a hotel, then you should host your banquet there as well. Hotels will offer 10 to 20% off standard menu prices because you have a room block. To learn more, read Food and Beverage (And audiovisual) contracting.

Shoulder Date Extension
Some of your family members may want to arrive a day or two early or check out a day or two after the family reunion. The dates before and after your family reunion are referred to as the shoulder dates. Make sure the hotel offers the same group rate on those days as they do during the actual family reunion.

Marquee Sign
Some hotels have the ability to change the marquee sign at the entrance of the property. If this is a case, then ask the hotel to see if they would be willing to add a welcome sign for your family reunion (Welcome Jones Family Reunion). This adds a nice touch for your attendees when they check in.

Hotels love to charge fees. Make sure to find out what additional fees you will be assessed and then negotiate them out. Common fees are resort fee, early departure fee, gym fees, safe fee, maid/bellman tip, telephone fees, and Internet Access.

Finalizing a contract for a family reunion room block can be a tedious process if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Hopefully, the tips above have provided the necessary information to make the hotel contracting process easier. As with any of the contract, it’s best to consult a lawyer before signing a legally binding document.

Did You Miss Part 1 and Part 2 of this article? If you did, here are the links:

What Should Be Included In Your Family Reunion Hotel Contract

Pay Attention To The Fine Print In The Family Reunion Room Block Contract

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