How do you know if you are getting the best hotel group rates? 1. 2. 3!

How often have you clicked on an offer, only to find the advertised rate is the ‘from’ price, and for the date you want, the rate costs 50% on top! Or when trying to bag that amazing rate for your group, the online system only lets you book 5 rooms, and when you log back in to book the rest and the price has doubled? Add into the mix the hundreds of different booking methods, different package basis and cancellation policies, how can you be sure you are getting the best value for your needs?

It’s a topic that we were discussing in the office just today, when one of our ‘bright sparks’ pointed out that this is information that is really useful to organisers, and so I got to work jotting some vital industry information to share, and so this post was born!

The answer is simple (although actioning it perhaps not quite so!); it all takes time and experience to know what you are looking at and where you need to go to get that information. If you have lots of time and are experienced, that’s great, but what if you don’t? Hopefully this post will help provide new and experienced organisers with vital inside information to help guide you through the minefield that is hotel bedroom rates:

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT! To save time, it is vital to know the answers to these before you start, enabling you to quickly focus on getting the right packages that meet your needs

* Do you want breakfast included?

* What is the minimum and maximum number of rooms you are likely to need?(Do you need to book on a group or individual reservation basis? –To make it more complicated, the number or rooms/room nights classed asa group also differs between each hotel)

* Do you need flexibility with the cancellation? – i.e. are a few rooms likely to drop last minute? (Flexible VS Pre-pay rates)

* How do you want to pay? – Are the guests paying on departure, do you want to pay for the group by invoice pre or post event? – This will affect the packages you can get.

KNOW WHAT IS BEING QUOTED. You your ‘what you want’ checklist to reference against the quote to verify that it includes what you need. (If it doesn’t say, its often not included).

* Does it include VAT, Breakfast, same room type (eg single bed or double bed for single occupancy) etc

* Does the rate apply to the number of bedrooms you need?

*Is there availability for the quantity of rooms for the dates you need?

MAKE THE BOOKING. – check, check and check again! Make sure that everything from your checklist is 100% clear. NEVER assume.

Hopefully i haven’t lost you all already. As you can see, the real answer is; without years of experience and hours of time to research each booking, you can’t be sure. You have to use your experience, and trust either yourself or someone else who is experienced, that they know the true value of the product for that period and that the rate is competitive.

There may be a few occasions that it might not always appear to be the absolute lowest, but what is your time worth? Is the £1 saving really worth half a day of trawling just to make sure?

Wendy has been organising corporate events for 18 years, and is the founder of meetings matter, a corporate venue finding service. She loves entertaining at home, and at work gets a kick when she is able to secure a venue she knows is going to be perfect for that event brief.


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