6 Industry-Insider Tips on Getting the Best Rates for Your Group Hotel Booking

Audrey Fairbrother
March 7, 2023
6 Industry-Insider Tips on Getting the Best Rates for Your Group Hotel Booking

Negotiating the best rates for your group hotel bookings is about understanding all the ins and outs of the business. It’s about looking past the listed rate and securing a great price for your company.

You also want to secure the best amenities within your budget for your team.

Take a page out of Hotel Engine’s group booking playbook with these tips, straight from industry experts with years of experience negotiating and booking group rates.

Table of Contents

1. Groups Don’t Have to Settle for the Listed Rate
2. Smaller Rooms Can Mean Cheaper Rates
3. Read Your Contracts Carefully
4. Book Your Room Block Early
5. Make Connections With the Hotel Sales Team
6. Always Inquire About Perks
7. Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards
8. Ask the Experts

1. Groups Don’t Have to Settle for the Listed Rate

Maybe you think the rate listed on the hotel’s website is the best you will get, but that’s not always the case.

Even hotels that promote a “best available rate” can come up with a more competitive price — if you can make it worthwhile with a large group or extended stay reservation.

Roughly 1 of every 5 dollars of hotel room revenue comes from the U.S. meeting industry. This is all the incentive hotels need to win your business, so event planners and group travel coordinators have some leverage.

The best deals lie at the end of a negotiation.

Consider not just the room rate but also meals, Wi-Fi and other amenities, and ensure every last detail makes it into your final contract.

Be fair and reasonable as you negotiate, to make your group reservation a win-win for both parties. That way, they’ll want to work with you on future reservations.

You might be able to snag an even deeper discount if you use a platform like Hotel Engine. We save businesses up to 60% on lodging and will provide you with white-glove service at no additional cost anytime you need to book more than eight rooms.

Simplify your group travel with exclusive hotel rates. Start your group booking!

2. Smaller Rooms Can Mean Cheaper Rates

Usually, a room with one king bed will be slightly cheaper than one with two double (or queen) beds. That seemingly small number can save you a pretty penny when booking for large groups or extended periods.

Now, you’ll need to know how many people you are putting in a room to establish how many rooms you’ll need.

For your average corporate booking, you’ll probably put just one person in each room, so you can go for the cheaper, smaller layout. If your travel policy allows you to put two people in a room with two beds, you may discover further savings that way.

Of course, some hotel rooms might also include a pullout couch that can sleep an extra person or two. That means the largest occupancy for a hotel room can range from two to six people.

For example, if you’re booking a retreat or organizational reunion where employees can bring the whole family, that still means you only need one room per family.

Another consideration is the number of rooms of each size a hotel has. If they only have rooms with two beds but the price is good, you already have your answer.

Read more: 11 Things to Consider When Making a Group Hotel Booking for Business

3. Read Your Contracts Carefully

Deloitte found that 91% of people accept terms and conditions without actually reading them. Though this likely poses little risk for mobile apps or well-known software, your must-haves could slip through the cracks if you don’t read your group booking contract in full.

Consider the difference between a courtesy room block and a guaranteed (also called a “contracted”) room block:

A courtesy room block holds the rooms at no cost to you but can cost you money in the long run, as you won’t always get a special offer.

Contracted room blocks come with more risk — as you’ll have to guarantee the number of rooms you book — but the hotel may cut you a deal since they know those rooms will be paid for.

Check-in and check-out times, wireless internet access and truck parking can also be worked into a contract to help you save.

Reading your agreements thoroughly will ensure every element is exactly as you imagined.

4. Book Your Room Block Early

Group booking requests can be hard to get confirmed with your company, but the earlier you sign off on it, the better rate you’ll get.

Many hotels prefer to have their rooms booked up by large groups. Take advantage of this preference by solidifying your room block as early as possible.

Hotels will work with you at any point leading up to your group’s stay. Even the 12-month mark isn’t too far out; that’s when you’ll likely get the best rates since demand will be lower than if you wait until months before the event.

What About Late  … Very Late?

We’ve all heard the old adage that if you really want the best price, book last minute.

Those that say it, claim that in the last week — or even the day before — hotels are just desperate to recoup any money they can on those rooms.

Don’t risk your job over this fool’s errand.

While it is true that rooms tend to be cheaper two weeks before check-in than they are four months out, the amount isn’t significant enough to take a chance.

There may not be enough rooms available when you need them, and some hotels require an RFP for large bookings, which can take days to compile and review.

Besides, any deal you might get playing the waiting game will be minor compared to what Hotel Engine can do for you.

Always book in advance so you can use the tips provided here as your place of negotiating strength, rather than deal with last-minute desperation and confusion.

Plan group travel seamlessly and stay within budget. Get group rates!

5. Make Connections With the Hotel Sales Team

As with most things, securing good hotel rates can be all about who you know.

Though Hotel Engine’s experts are already well-connected, the average travel manager might not be.

Once you’ve identified a few of the best hotels for your group, contact those hotels directly. Make a note of all the people you speak with and negotiate with. You can always refer back to them if your needs change.

This is also a great opportunity for travel managers to get in some networking. You’re a valuable person for travel agents and hotel sales teams to know, especially if you book a high volume of business trips or room blocks.

Use LinkedIn and travel industry groups like the Independent Lodging Congress to build relationships with hospitality industry professionals that you can leverage later on.

6. Always Inquire About Perks

Without perks, a guest room is just a bed, a bathroom and a TV. The concierge can always help guests during their stay, but it's better to ask the hotel sales team what sort of amenities are available before booking.

Here are some common examples that aren’t strictly necessary but can go a long way towards colleague convenience:

  • Shuttle service to and from the airport
  • Late check out
  • Free, fully-stocked minibar

Even the simplest perk can set one hotel chain apart from the other.

For instance, Hotel A and Hotel B might rent similar rooms for the same price, but if Hotel A offers complimentary breakfast and exclusive coupons to local restaurants, that’s a better deal.

Just think of how much you could save on meal expenses!

Upgrades: Like Perks But Even Better

Everyone loves a free hot breakfast, but a bowl of cereal tastes a lot better in a top-floor getaway with an ocean view.

Yes, suites typically cost a premium, but that’s not always a given. In New York City or San Francisco, where every hotel room has a classy view, the price difference may be negligible. If you’re booking a conference on business days in a beach town in the wintertime, you may already be dealing with a very cheap base rate.

Upgrades are a great way to boost employee morale, which can be quite helpful if they are on a particularly long business trip.

So, upgrades are something you should at least consider when locking down your hotel rooms.

7. Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards

Many credit card companies offer rewards to customers who use their cards as their payment option for travel bookings.

These rewards come in the form of airline miles, hotel room upgrades, car rental discounts and other perks valuable for travelers.

AmEx, Capital One, Citi, Chase and Discover all maintain travel programs, and you can use your points to save money for your company.

Not to mention, when you book through Hotel Engine, you earn additional points that you can use alongside your credit card rewards for further savings.

In other words, you get to double-dip on discounts!

8. Ask the Experts

Booking a hotel for a group isn’t as easy as clicking “Book Now.”

Though you’ll learn a lot as you go, there’s much to be said for asking the experts.

The hospitality industry is rather tight-knit, and its members will have already built the relationships you’re vying for, saving you quite a bit of time and effort.

Make use of their network and know-how to get the best rates for your group business bookings every time.

Reach out to someone you can trust within your own network, or outsource expertise through a team of experts, like Hotel Engine's Groups team.

With the Groups team, you'll get white-glove service at no additional charge. They'll provide you with the best options on hotels and locations, and handle the booking, billing, and reconciliation for you. And if you ever have any questions, just ask — we’re happy to help.

Business travel managers are expected to plan inspiring itineraries on shoestring budgets. Companies don’t want to break the bank on rooms, but your team needs comfortable accommodations.

That’s why you should pull out all the stops to secure the most competitive fare.

Hotel Engine saves organizations up to 60% on lodging.

You can save more by following some of the insider tips above, or you can hand the entire process off to our team and enjoy a worry-free booking experience.

Ready to get started? Learn more about how we handle group hotel bookings.


When it comes to group bookings, the key is to plan ahead and keep your options open. Reserve early and read the fine print.

Always inquire about any extra perks or potential upgrades; the little things go a long way in keeping your employees smiling while they’re away from home.

Also, when finding a great group rate is not cut and dry, your industry connections could get you over the finish line.

Of course, Hotel Engine is happy to take care of the hard stuff for you (say goodbye to reconciling dozens of credit card transactions!). We'll get you great group deals at over 750,000 properties, so you never have the hassle of comparing prices on booking websites.

Follow these practices, and everyone is sure to have a great hotel stay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors should I consider when making group hotel reservations? 

When making group hotel reservations, consider the location, amenities, and proximity to your event. Ensure the hotel can accommodate your group's size and special needs. Compare rates and inquire about group discounts. It's also beneficial to read reviews and check the hotel's cancellation policies.

How can I ensure I get the best group hotel rate? 

To secure the best group hotel rate, book early and negotiate directly with the hotel. Use a platform like Hotel Engine, which offers discounts and perks for group bookings. Additionally, consider flexible dates and inquire about package deals that include meals or other services.

What are the advantages of using a hotel reservation service for group accommodations? 

Using a hotel reservation service for group accommodations simplifies the booking process, often securing better rates and additional perks. Services like Hotel Engine provide dedicated support, handle negotiations, and offer streamlined billing, making it easier to manage large bookings efficiently.

Learn how Hotel Engine can help you in your role:

Travel Managers | Operations Managers | Finance Managers

Article written by
Audrey Fairbrother

Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine's audience and cultivating the company's brand voice.

Table Of Contents
Guy on his phone
Ready to save time and money on business lodging?
Join for Free
Share This Article: