It is ideal for companies that send construction workers, storm crews, tree cutters, road paving crews, or any other kind of work crew that travels together.
The mistake made by many people looking at hotels for a work crew is that they concentrate on the rate alone.
While the rates are important, there are too many other variables to consider before making a good decision.
In order to select the right hotel for a work crew, you will need to take two steps.
Step 1: Get group rates for hotels
Instead of calling only two or three hotels, get group hotel rates from all the hotels in any given city by filling out one form. Doing so will give you the most options when selecting hotels for the work crew. As soon as you fill out the form (takes less than five minutes), hotels will email you their group rates in less than five minutes.
Once you have group rates from all the hotels, select three to four hotels based on their location, price, and amenities. Call each one to conduct a site inspection.
Step 2: Hotel Site Inspection
Conducting a site inspection for a work crew sounds simple enough but you have to know what you’re looking for, and what questions to ask. You can take a look at our section on hotel site inspections or download the work crew inspection checklist.
The location is always the key when traveling with a group. However, with a work crew, it is essential to be near or as close as possible to the work site. Not only does it make sense from commuting perspective, but employees are happier as well.
When selecting a location for your work crew, give extra preference to a site that has restaurants and things to do nearby. This way, they won’t have to travel very far to grab some food and drinks (especially if the hotel does not have a lounge of it’s own).
Either before or after the site inspection, take a quick walk around the neighborhood as well. If you feel safe walking around, then your employees will feel safe staying there as well.
When going through the site inspection, one of the key things to look for is the friendliness of the staff. And not just the friendliness towards you but also towards each other. Do employees look comfortable working there? Does everyone seem happy to be there? Do employees willingly talk about the hotel in a positive and glowing manner? How friendly is the GM? How accommodating is the sales manager?
If you got a negative vibe from the employees, then no matter how good the hotel is, don’t bother booking there. If they can’t keep you happy for a few hours, then how will they keep you work crew happy for weeks?
While you can research amenities online ahead of the actual site inspection, there are intangibles that require the actual visit.
For example, you should take a walk through the restaurant and lounge to check for condition and cleanliness. Is it updated? How does the menu look? Would you eat there?
Also, consider having a meal at the restaurant to see the quality of the food and the presentation. Also, chat with the bartender to see how friendly he/she is. Remember that your crew may spend weeks at this hotel so you need to make sure that they have a comfortable place to hang out after hours.
Wifi can be a very important part of the equation since many companies now require their employees to report progress online. Ask the hotel what the cost for the Wifi is and whether it is possible to get it free since you are sending so much business.
Regardless of the cost, consider testing the Wifi signal for yourself in different parts of the hotel with your phone. IS the signal strong? Are there certain parts of the hotel where the signal is weak? If so, ask the hotel about why you are having trouble getting Wifi.
Breakfast is another hot button issue for many companies. When looking at hotels, give preference to locations that offer a free full hot breakfast. Not only will this save the company money, it will also save the employees time as they will have one less place to stop in the morning.
Billing can be quite complicated when it comes to work crews. Not everyone checks in on the same day and they never leave at the same time. Due to the constant in/out, hotels are known to make billing errors. Consider asking the hotel to extend a direct bill relationship whereby the hotel sends a monthly invoice which you can review and pay.
Other questions to ask are:
- Can reward points be assigned to employees?
- What are the requirements from individuals when they are checking in? Do they need to show a credit card for incidentals?
- Mention what incidentals you will be paying for and which ones you won’t be paying for.
- Is there a manager’s reception at night?
- How good is the fitness center?
- Fax free? Cost?
- Copies free? Cost?
- Business center available? Cost?
- How do they handle packages for the work crew? Is there a place they store them? Is there a charge for storage? Is there a charge for handling the packages?
- Can the hotel provide referrals from other work crews that have stayed there? What kind of reputation does the hotel have on websites like Tripadvisor.com
When going through the rooms, the hallways, and the lobby, make sure to use the checklist mentioned above. It will guide you on what to look for in each of these areas in terms of cleanliness and condition.
In addition, you should take these things into consideration:
- How many rooms have two double or queen beds?
- Do the rooms have refrigerators and microwaves? Mini or full kitchens?
- Can the work crew be added to the VIP or concierge level right away?
- Can the crew be placed in rooms that are least noisy?
- What happens if the work is extended? Will the rate stay the same?
- What happens if the hotel is sold out? Where will the crew be moved to? Will the hotel pay the difference if they are oversold?
- Can you have LRA (last room availability) at your rate?
- Is there enough parking spaces to accommodate trucks? Is parking free?
A hotel site inspection for a work crew is very different than one for a reunion, a meeting or a wedding. In this case, you have to look at the hotel from a long term stay perspective. By answering the questions above, and completing the hotel site inspection checklist, you will be able to select the right hotel for your work crew.
What should you read next?
Read out tips and tricks of conducting a hotel site inspection.