How to Book Hotels for Large Groups Part 2: 8 Tips For Every Group Hotel Booking

Sara Kern
February 28, 2023
How to Book Hotels for Large Groups Part 2: 8 Tips For Every Group Hotel Booking

Booking accommodations for a large group?We know: it can be complicated.But Hotel Engine is on a mission to radically simplify trip management, and we’re already revolutionizing group travel.In this article, we’ll provide 8 tips to help you book the perfect stay for your team.If you missed the first post in this two-parter, read Large Group Booking Part 1 to discover the differences between booking for a group getaway and a group trip for schools or businesses.

Tip # 1: Safety First

The most important quality for the hotel you select is the safety of your travelers. Although hotel properties will always have security measures intended to keep guests safe, you may want to consider the safety of the local area as well.Conduct some research, and be careful about selecting hotels located in areas with high crime rates — you may want to select a hotel with interior room doors in that situation.If you have to choose between convenience and safety, opt for safety.

Tip #2: Start Early (If You Can)

If you’re planning to book the accommodations yourself, your best bet is to book them as early as possible. It can be time-consuming to find hotels that meet the needs of your guests, let alone hotels that have the availability you need when you need it.And then there’s negotiating hotel group rates with hotels directly. It’s a slow process that can be tough unless you have the support of a company like Hotel Engine to take over the process for you.Booking in advance will give you more room options and a better bargaining position to get the best group hotel rates.Sometimes you need to book last minute. For instance, when incidents, accidents, or disasters happen, and have the time needed to find the lodging you need. In that case, leave it to a dedicated trip manager from Hotel Engine to take over your group booking and get you more rooms with less legwork.

Tip #3: Collect Individual Preferences

Try to get the personal preferences of each traveler in your whole group before you start looking for a hotel.

  • Will there be group meals, or will people dine on their own?
  • Will people pay for incidentals on their own credit cards or share expenses on an app like Venmo, PayPal or Splitwise?
  • Will individuals share lodging or have their own hotel rooms?

Individual guests may have specific lodging requirements to be comfortable out of town, so you’ll want to consider them before you commit to any accommodations.If your group is a social group, like a wedding party or family reunion, be sure to collaborate with the whole group or group members involved in the planning process.

Tip #4: Location, Location, Location

If you’re handling your own group hotel booking, start your search with the location of the work or event your group is out of town for.A hotel’s proximity to that location will help you provide your travelers with a convenient stay and shorten the list of hotels you’re considering.If your group is traveling for several days, take into account the proximity of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, so they can easily access a variety of local experiences after work hours.Or, if your group is in town for a wedding or event, make sure they’ll be able to easily reach everywhere on their itinerary.Related: Our Favorite Corporate Retreat Locations in the U.S.

Hotel amenities

Tip #5: Be Thoughtful About Amenities

The right hotel amenities can be the difference between a miserable stay and a great one.

Some travelers may not be comfortable exploring a new place, so having options on-site for them will make a world of difference.

Amenities are even more important if your group will be staying in a hotel for a long period of time. You may want special amenities, like on-site laundry, to make their stay more comfortable.

Common (and uncommon) amenities include:

  • A fitness center (ideally 24 hours)
  • Continental breakfast service
  • Room service
  • A restaurant on-site
  • A café on-site
  • A swimming pool
  • A game room
  • Free WiFi
  • A concierge
  • Relaxed check-in and check-out times

Other amenities might include wake-up calls, on-site parking, an airport shuttle, etc.

Tip #6: Motel vs. Hotel

When booking a property for your group, consider whether you want to book rooms in a motel or hotel. While both options will provide your travelers with a place to stay, the motel and hotel difference is often distinct in terms of amenities, services, and overall experience.

By taking the time to consider the differences, you can ensure that you book the right type of accommodation for your group’s trip.

Hotels are typically more well-appointed and offer a wide range of services and amenities, while motels are more budget-friendly and provide a basic place to sleep. Depending on the purpose of your trip, the size and type of your group, and your budget, one may be a better choice.

Want to know more about the differences between hotels and motels? Check out our full article on the topic, Should You Book a Hotel or a Motel?

Tip #7: Consider Rooms Eligible for Loyalty Programs

If you can book rooms eligible for loyalty programs, your guests can earn rewards while they stay for work; points that can be used for personal travel.

Keep in mind that if you book with an Online Travel Agency (or OTA) or a Travel Management Company (TMC), your travelers will most likely not be able to earn rewards points for their stays.

Hotel Engine, on the other hand, not only provides passthrough rewards on 15+ top loyalty programs (like Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy), but you’ll also earn HE rewards with every stay. HE Rewards can be redeemed later for discounted stays or free nights.

Tip #8: Don’t forget about the budget

At the end of the day, you need to stay as close to your budget as possible. Group hotel bookings typically come with a special discount, so you should look for a hotel that offers an attractive group rate.

It may require some legwork or to call hotels to negotiate directly — unless you have someone to do the research for you.

Why It’s Easier To Book Group Stays with Hotel Engine

If you’re interested in saving time booking hotels for large groups, you might want to sign up for a free account with Hotel Engine.

Hotel Engine customers are given a dedicated Group Sales Manager to help with bookings for big groups, which eliminates the hassles and inconveniences of doing the work yourself.

Alongside the rest of our expert Groups team, they'll provide you with specialized recommendations based on the type of group you’re traveling with, and any special needs, requests, or amenities you require.

They’ll also assist with booking and making adjustments to itineraries, guest lists, and booking modifications — so you can spend that time elsewhere.

But what is Hotel Engine?

Hotel Engine is on a mission to radically simplify trip management for everyone. The free-to-use platform makes best-in-class support and simplification accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Trusted by over 750,000 travelers and over 700,000 properties around the world.

Ready to simplify your group trip planning? Sign up for a free account to get started today.

Article written by
Sara Kern

Sara Kern is a Copywriter at Hotel Engine. She worked as a writer in the tech and apparel industries for almost a decade before joining the HE family, but also has experience coordinating business travel for fast-moving nonprofits, so she knows firsthand how hard it can be. She joined Hotel Engine in 2022 and is excited to be a part of the movement to radically simplify trip management for everyone.

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