Booking accommodation has never been easier these days. With just a couple of clicks and in not more than 10 minutes one can book practically any type of accommodation in virtually any part of the world. This is true, still, does that mean that the accommodation that was picked as one of the best offered for that particular place and time? It may as well be so, but only if significant effort and thoughtful preparation had been implemented in checking all the available options before the actual booking had been completed. This surely is not something that can be done in a couple of minutes, regardless of how successful organizer a particular individual was.
Also, this is even truer when it comes to booking a group accommodation since the factors that need to be taken into consideration are different and more complex compared to those related to bookings for individuals. Primarily, you will need to take a much broader, multilayered perspective in checking all the details a group accommodation involves. To help you through this complex process, here is a list of notions that need to be covered. Getting through it without skipping an entry guarantees you will complete the task successfully.
Plan well ahead
When it comes to the ideal timing for booking a group accommodation, the answer is simple, book it as soon as possible. Why is this important?
First of all, the more time you have available the less stressful the entire process will be. Secondly, the vast majority of the most prominent places are booked months ahead and if you set your mind on one of them now is the time to start the reservation process. Thirdly, the earlier you book, the better price you will obtain. The savings made with a timely booking can be redirected to those additional features mentioned before and make a huge difference in the overall satisfaction of the guests.
Finally, the greater the period between the moment you book the accommodation and the actual arrival of the guests the greater the leverage you will have for any eventual changes that might have to be made. It is not unusual for people to ask for certain adaptations related to the accommodation that awaits them and this way both you and them will have more time to try and make them happen.
The nature of the gathering and guests’ profile
Booking accommodation for a team of young athletes who are in town for a state championship is a completely different story from finding a suitable place for a group of business people who are in town to sign a contract for their new million-dollar worth enterprise. The former will not mind residing in rooms that have four or more beds, bunk beds included. As a matter of fact, they would find it a bit awkward if each of them had a separate room and were not sleeping in the same building. On the other hand, the group that is in town on serious business will surely prefer and expect to be accommodated in single or double rooms, depending on their status in the company and would not mind sleeping in neighboring buildings if it meant that they would have additional comfort. Therefore, make sure you check what type of guests you need to find accommodation for before you start searching at all. Knowing these data will give you a head start and help you narrow the choices of possible accommodations.
Acquire data before their arrival
The first thing that needs to be done once the guests reach accommodation is check-in. Naturally, the guests want the check in to be over with as soon as possible so that they can get to their rooms or start tasks and activities they came for. Very often this will result in check-in forms being incompletely filled or illegible, while room keys and luggage get misplaced because things get rushed. As a result, both hosts and guests become anxious. This otherwise straightforward and easy process can easily turn into a huge mess, which surely is not a good way to start.
Therefore, instead of filling the check-in forms on the spot, send electronic forms to your guest in advance. The information you get will be clearly written and in a form that is easy to correct if needed. On top of that, the check-in process will be much smoother and faster, leaving a much greater first impression on the guests. Once things start on a positive note, everything else that follows has increasingly better chances of being positive, as well.
A group of individuals
To paraphrase the idiom, a group is as strong as its weakest individual is. Even though group accommodation is being discussed here, the individuality of each of its members should never be disregarded. For example, you should not put in the same room a person who likes watching football with a person who hates it if you have a single TV set available and the agenda that planned for plenty of time to be spent in the room. Furthermore, if the majority of people in the group are vegetarians, booking accommodation that provides meals mainly based on meat would lead to unnecessary complications that could have been easily avoided. These are just a couple of situations where knowing at least some individual habits of your guest would help you narrow the choice of the most suitable accommodation. The easiest way to avoid as many problematic situations as possible is to draft a questionnaire that covers all major topics related to your guests’ regular habits and email it along with the check-in form discussed before. Make sure you explain to your guests the reason why it is important for them to provide answers in detail. Doing so will make it clear that you are asking them personal questions solely for their benefit and in return increase the chances that they will make an effort and provide useful data.
One of the most important features of any accommodation facility in practically any corner of the world is how easily it can be reached. This is perfectly understandable, in this day and age time is of particular essence and people do not want to go through the additional hassle to get to a certain place if it can be avoided. Therefore, an easiness of reach should be one of the criteria that put accommodation on top of your consideration list. Also, if the guests are not arriving as a group it is important to consider various means of transportation and how easy it is to reach the accommodation using any of them. For example, if the guests are coming by train or a bus, the closeness of the corresponding stations is another feature that should be considered. If they come by car, obtaining a parking space near the accommodation is a must, particularly if they plan on using their cars during their stay. Having a secured parking place will also come in handy if their agenda includes going from and getting back to accommodation during their stay.
Accommodation can be much more than a simple room with a place to lay your head on. Although there is nothing wrong with keeping things simple, there are instances where guests expect additional services not just spending a night in a comfortable bed and a tidy room. If that is the case with the group you are hosting then the scope and quality of those additional services a certain accommodation has to offer could easily be the thing that matters the most in the overall impression. This is particularly true if the guests are arriving for an important meeting and will need something to relax before or afterward. A billiard room, a swimming pool, and a sauna or a complete spa treatment for that matter, or a karaoke bar could be some of the additions and the icing on the cake of your entire effort. In the majority of the cases, the guests appreciate more the additional features that are nearby and require the least possible effort to reach. On the other hand, if the nature of their gathering and their profile could ask for some remote locations for those additional activities, such as field trips, sightseeing or a paintball playground, to name just a few. However, in such instances, they do not necessarily need to be a part of your task. Therefore, make sure to check whether you should include them or not, particularly if you are working on a tight budget. If they are, before you head to any of those remote locations make sure you check their availability for group visits. Such types of visits often need to be arranged in advance and usually happen during certain hours, which may or may not suit your group. Naturally, feel free to ask for a group discount, especially if it consists of a large number of people.
If you are blessed with having an unlimited budget, disregard everything that was written in this paragraph. In any other case, making the best of what you have on hands is always advised as the smartest approach. The first thing that needs to be done is to double-check what is included in the stated price. For example, the vast majority of hotels have free Wi-Fi, but there are still some that require an additional payment for 24/7 access to it. Next, some places charge for parking, include a fee for the use of additional amenities they offer, such as swimming pools or saunas, while others include everything in the total price. Therefore, study all the data you have available carefully and make sure you read the fine print in detail since the majority of additional costs that are easily overlooked are usually written in those small black letters people often tend to skip.
On the other hand, some places offer group discounts and some are open to negotiation. It does not cost a thing to ask for them even though they may not be explicitly stated. On top of that, if you have great negotiation and persuasion skills, make sure you use them this time, as well. This is particularly true if your task is to find accommodation for a large group of people. This is something that any accommodation facility is looking forward to and you should, by all means, try to work out the best price possible.
Meals and beverages
Once again, depending on the occasion the meals and beverages may or may not be included in the accommodation you are to provide. If they are, they can come in several combinations and selections, which implies that you need to have detailed data about the type of service the accommodation is supposed to provide. Some accommodation facilities have restaurants within their premises, while others use adjusting or even distant venues for meals. Therefore, make sure you double-check all relevant information to be sure that everything will suit the guests’ needs. This is another entry where the data you gathered by surveying your guest’s preferences will come in handy. When drinks are concerned, some groups like having their drinks at the accommodation’s bar, while others prefer using mini bars in their rooms. Once again, asking the guests what they like more will help you filter the possible accommodation based on that criterion, as well.
Booking a group accommodation is a process that consists of several stages. Although they do not seem equally important and the time needed to go through them varies significantly, it is essential that you address each of them with due attention since it is very often the case that small nuances make the largest difference and provide amplest additional value. Since you are dealing with a group of people as a unit, as well as every individual in it, your effort will prove to be successful only if you take your time, check every detail and leave nothing to chance.
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