5 Tips to Simplify Group Hotel Bookings
When you’re juggling a million other tasks, hearing, “We’ve got a group traveling to St. Louis. I need you to book nine hotel rooms,” probably makes your heart sink.
Your to-do list isn’t going anywhere, and you have better things to do than spend hours tracking down a hotel with the best group rate.
Booking business travel excursions — especially for multiple people at once — is stressful.
Thankfully, there are ways to make it a little easier and eliminate some of the associated stress. Check out our top five tips to keep in mind when you’re booking for a group.
By streamlining the process, these tips will save you time and hassle. They’ll cut down on drudgery and free you up, so you can focus on other essential tasks.
1. Who’s Going on the Business Trip?
Step one is to figure out who is going.
If you’re also in charge of booking their flights, you must gather the necessary information, such as each party’s full name and date of birth. Double-check everything before making the flight reservation — the spelling of their name must match their IDs.
Keep in mind that if a person has recently changed their name (due to marriage or other reasons), the reservation needs to be booked under the name on their ID.
To avoid error, have each individual write the information or provide their ID for you to reference.
Ask them if they have any wiggle room on when they depart and return. Flights tend to be cheaper on different days and times, and if your coworker is flexible, you can choose the most economical one.
If their schedule is more strict, find out exactly when they’ll need to depart and arrive and write this down.
Be sure to communicate clearly and accurately so that everyone is on the same page.
Everyone benefits from a few business travel hacks under their belt. Check out our recommendations.
Booking Hotel Rooms
Next, you want to know the budget for hotel rooms. Do the funds only allow for a mid-range room or can you book a suite?
How long is your group staying? Will everyone arrive and depart on the same dates? If any members of your party are arriving early or leaving late, you’ll need to make sure you have the hotel rooms booked to accommodate them.
Your travelers may want an extra day on-site to prepare for a big presentation. If audio-visual equipment will be involved, it’s always a good idea to allow time for a few trial runs.
Don’t forget to factor in jet lag and other travel-related weariness. For an important meeting, you’ll want everyone to be on their game. It’s worth it for the company to shell out for an extra night at the hotel to ensure that the travelers are well rested and prepared to clinch the deal.
These are all things to discuss with the travelers and their managers well in advance of the trip. That gives you all the information you’ll need to examine the options and make the best possible choice to ensure that the trip is a success.
Be proactive and ask all the questions you can think of — don’t just assume that you’ll be told everything you need to know. People are busy and important details may slip their mind until reservations are already booked.
2. Where Is the Group Going?
Where you’ll look for a hotel likely depends on the destination. Your travel budget will stretch a lot further in a cheap midwestern city than in a pricier hotspot like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Being closer to the center of the action means restaurants, museums and other cultural hotspots and highlights are nearby — which could be important to consider if the trip will involve schmoozing clients.
If not, room rates are usually cheaper on the city’s outskirts, but you will incur more transportation costs if travel is necessary.
You might always want to consider any opportunities to kill two birds with one stone. Is there a competitor located nearby that you could send travelers over to check out? Or a vendor where you could knock out some meetings?
Asking these questions can help you plan the most productive possible trip and ensure that you’re choosing the best location for the hotel.
First time booking these kinds of corporate travel arrangements? Check out our guide for beginners.
3. Why Are They Taking This Trip?
What is the purpose of this trip?
Are there any additional considerations, like a meeting space that you need to reserve along with lodging?
What is the best-case scenario resulting from this trip — and what can you do to help make this happen? In what ways can you assist in eliminating any resistance?
The more information you have as group coordinator, the easier it will be to set your team up for success. It’ll save you time, hassle and even potential embarrassment (if something crucial is forgotten or overlooked).
Again, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
You may have a general idea of the desired outcome, but it still never hurts to ask.
You may also like: How to Get Corporate Rates and Discounts on Hotels for Your Business
4. What Are Their Travel Needs?
Make sure you know of any perks, requirements or special upgrades your group needs.
You’re aware your group needs to be close to one location, but are there more? Will they be scouting multiple properties, or looking at different sites?
If so, you may need to factor in vehicle rentals. Or consider hiring a ride service, and don’t forget to note a potential lodging location central to these places. It’s best to price shop these options to find the happy medium of convenience and affordability.
If anyone has dietary concerns or specific food allergies, research local restaurants where they’ll be able to dine. This shows you care and have done everything within your power to set them up with a comfortable trip.
If a business dinner is on the agenda, seek out a few different highly-rated options your team can pull from. Doing so will save them the hassle and wasted time that comes with trying to choose. Be sure to consider whether advance reservations are needed.
Health & Fitness
Many business travelers really value the opportunity to keep up with fitness regimes while out of town. Finding a hotel with a good gym is a sure way to make your travelers happy.
How Can I Make All This Easier?
Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?
We’ve covered all the big details you need to consider when it comes to narrowing down your hotel search. But then you’ll still need to get the best rates, ensure that it all fits in your budget and make all the bookings!
It gets even more complicated when you have people coming and going at different times, or if plans are fluid and subject to change at the last minute.
Sometimes, being good at your job comes down to knowing where to delegate big tasks.
And finding the right partner can pay off big time when they can help you negotiate rates.
Discover: Should You Book a Hotel or a Motel?
5. Let Hotel Engine Help
That’s where Hotel Engine comes in!
Hotel Engine connects those traveling for business with their ideal lodging.
When you work with Hotel Engine, you’ll have access to hundreds of thousands of hotels worldwide. No matter where your group is going, you’ll be able to find a great property for their needs.
Looking to book more than eight rooms, or a long-term stay for a smaller group?
Hotel Engine’s Project Services team will handle all the coordination on your behalf — for free. Hotel Engine provides other resources, too, such as how to manage a company mileage policy.
How Does Hotel Engine Work?
Hotel Engine has a dedicated team of highly specialized project coordinators and managers. They take your information — the nitty-gritty details of what you need and where you need it — and find exactly what you’re after.
Not only do they source hotels, but they also negotiate the rates. They’ll find the best deal at the best price by wielding their substantial negotiating power — ensuring a better discount than your business will be able to swing on their own.
Calling multiple hotels, trying to make a group reservation and securing the best rate is time-consuming and tedious. Hotel Engine takes this stress off your plate.
How Can I Gain Access to Their Services?
- In order to gain access, sign up to be a member. Membership is free.
- Once you’ve signed up, you’ll start by submitting a request, either to your account manager or by filling out their Group Booking Form. You’ll include the pertinent information, much of which you gleaned earlier and now have at your fingertips, in a neat list.
- After you submit that, one of their expert planners will be in touch to see if there’s anything more you need. They’ll make sure they have all the necessary details and understand the full scope of what you are looking for.
- They get to work locating the best rates at the best hotels. They negotiate group booking, they take care of the billing, and they also handle the reconciliation of the reservation.
Benefits of Using Hotel Engine
If you Google “how do I negotiate a hotel room block,” you can find informative articles, but the process they lay out is labor intensive. They have sections like, “do your homework on rates.” Who has time to educate themselves on pricing in a specific hotel market?
With Hotel Engine, you don’t have to put yourself through that — they’re already the experts.
Hotel Engine Goes Above & Beyond
In addition to finding suitable hotels for you at the best group hotel rates, they also handle all modifications.
What happens if someone misses a flight and gets there a day late? Or someone falls sick and cannot attend?
When you use Hotel Engine, it’s no longer your problem. They handle the modifications, from removing someone from a reservation to booking extra days if someone else needs to stay late.
They also deal with issues at the hotel. Just like you, they care about your group’s satisfaction. From problems with guest rooms, Wifi or other interferences, Hotel Engine will advocate to the hotel on your group’s behalf to ensure that you’ve got everything you need.
Hotel Engine helps business groups get the best possible experience from their trip.
See also: What is an OBT? [+ Why They Matter]
Breaking down the steps for group bookings makes the task much less daunting. Taking the information about your project and handing it over to experts who are well-versed in handling the rest turns it into a walk in the park.
Now when you hear, “We’ve got eleven people heading off to Beijing; please find them a place to stay,” you won’t bat an eye. You’ll know right away where to turn to find the Shangri-la of a location.
Sign up for your free Hotel Engine membership and start earning rewards now!
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. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.