They fail to anticipate their needs as a group and without realizing it, book a hotel that makes their team travel a miserable experience.
So how do you avoid selecting the wrong hotel for your team?
By knowing what to look for and asking the right questions during a hotel site inspection, you will be able to narrow your choices to one or two hotels that will suit your sports team just fine.
So where should you start?
Get group hotel rates first. Rather than call hotels individually, fill out a simple group booking form and hotels in your desired city will email you their availability and group rates.
When filling out the form, add the following in the comments section:
“We will be needing a hotel near [enter site] and would appreciate a hotel that offers free meeting space where our parents and kids can get together. We will give preference to the hotel that has [a pool, or any other amenity that is important]”.
Once you have the group rates, then narrow your choices by price and location
Start by downloading the following hotel inspection checklist for a sports team. It is completely free and will come in handy when you visit hotels.
In the site inspection checklist above, there are certain key points that you should be aware of when it comes to traveling with a sports team.
Then compare the following
Can you block rooms in the same area of the hotel?
Connecting rooms are a big no-no as students will try to congregate after lights are out. If anything, we would recommend having student rooms separated by chaperon rooms just to keep things in check.
Are parents traveling with the students or do they have to get a separate block of hotel rooms?
This is a big amenity for traveling sports team. Not only does a pool help pass time for the kids, it also provides a contained environment where parents and coaches can sit and relax without having to supervise too much. Keep in mind that most hotels don’t have a life guard and someone trained in CPR should be present if you have a lot of students in the pool.
Private area where parents and kids can eat and hang out
In most cases, a hotel is happy to provide a sports team with a private meeting room where they can eat and hang out. Doing so keeps the kids out of the hallways where they are more likely to disrupt other hotel guests.
In addition to room cleanliness, make sure to look for any special needs for your sports team. For example, when we traveled with the basketball team, we always had to make sure that the shower height was adequate for our players.
When looking around the area, make sure there is a Walmart or a grocery store nearby. Having one will save everyone a lot of money on snacks like chips, and soda that kids will end up paying full price for at the hotel vending machines.
It seems kind of obvious but it should be mentioned anyways. Try to select a hotel that is 100% non-smoking for your sports team. Hotels that offer smoking rooms sometimes have that stale smell in the hallways, and even in the rooms. The last thing you need is the kids on the sports team to have to smell cigarette smoke before a sports tournament.
What kind of check in can the hotel offer? Can they pre check in everyone? Can they pre-key all the rooms and hand you all the rooms key to hand out as soon as you walk in?
While you may book the hotel for a few days, you may have to check out early if your team does not qualify for the next round. If you do check out early as a team, are there any penalties?
Want to save some serious money when traveling with a sports team? Then consider booking a hotel that provides free breakfast. It will save you $10-$15 per person. When looking at the breakfast offering at the hotel, try to select the one that offers a full free hotel breakfast as opposed to the continental one.
Extremely important nowadays to all sports teams and coaches. Free Wifi is a savings of $15 a room.
Make sure the parking is free and also, if traveling by bus, make sure you ask if they have enough space in the lot to accommodate one.
Many schools don’t give their coaches credit cards. Instead, they require that the hotel bill the school directly. If that is the case, then make sure you iron this fact out during your site inspection. If the hotel does not offer direct bill, then it may be time to move to the next hotel on the list.
Sports teams need two beds in each room. Make sure the hotel has enough rooms with two beds before you book your team.
Ask if the hotel has TV’s that can connect with the X-Box console that many of your kids may be traveling with. This is a much requested amenity and keeps the kids busy in their rooms.
What kind of security does the hotel offer? Can they walk the hallways at night to make sure that students are not sneaking out or going room to room? Is there an additional cost for that?
How far is the hotel from the tournament site? Anything more than 20 minutes will be too much travel so keep that in mind when comparing hotels.
Armed with the tips above and the sports team hotel inspection checklist, you will be able to select a hotel that is perfect for your team.
What Should I Do Next?
Get group hotel rates for your sports team.