New Website Demystifies Hotel Group Discounts

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The newly introduced GroupExclusives.com offers a specialized, self service, RFP function for Hotels and Restaurants as well as best practices for receiving the best rate discounts for groups.

Save Money With Intelligent Contract Negotiations

DO eat at the hotel or partake in other possible revenue generating activities at the hotel and be sure to include them in the contract negotiations. The higher the overall revenue is for the hotel, the more flexibility there may be in the rate discount.

Did you know that you could get an even steeper room rate discount for your group if you plan a meal, such as dinner, at the hotel? GroupExclusvies.com is proud to offer our top ten do's and don'ts of hotel contracts.

For millions of Americans planning travel for a group, the search for the best available group discount can be time consuming and frustrating. GroupExclusives.com is designed to simplify shopping for the best available rate and also includes industry insights into negotiating the hotel contract.

After shopping mutliple hotels via GroupExlusives' PersonalTravel Dashboard to find the best available group discounted rate, many hotels will require that you sign a contract. These contracts are heavy on the legal jargon and often intimidating. We have taken the mystery out of contracting with a hotel and offer our top 10 do's and don'ts when entering into an agreement with a hotel.

1. Do book as far as possible in advance Most hotels sell their available inventory much like airlines do.
2. Do Negotiate! Don’t be shy to comparison shop and let the hotel know what others are offering you in the neighborhood.
3. Do strive for a cumulative attrition clause, not nightly.
4. Do set a comfortable deposit schedule that fits your funding schedule, this is within your control for the most part.
5. Do ask for Concessions (These are the “freebies” such as free nights or free upgrades. Some larger hotels may offer in room amenities, spa and activities as concessions). Discounts on Food and Beverage, or ancillary revenues provided to the hotel. Many times in a down economy you will find great room rate deals in upscale or even luxury hotels, however the food prices are not so attractive. Worldwide, there are many talented chefs that work in the hotel industry, if you cannot negotiate an acceptable discount off menu pricing, inquire if the hotel can create custom menus to meet your budget.
6. Do ask if the rate offered is the very best available. Many hotels negotiate and settle on a mutually beneficial rate, however if you only take the first rate, you may have been able to do better.
7. Do eat at the hotel or partake in other possible revenue generating activities at the hotel and be sure to include them in the contract negotiations. The higher the overall revenue is for the hotel, the more flexibility there may be in the rate discount. Many groups plan to eat somewhere else why they are in town. GroupExclusives.com offers restaurant RFP service as well, however, the more business you can place at the hotel; the better the deal is apt to be.
8. Do check with the city’s convention and visitors bureau for large events. If your dates are flexible, avoiding these peak demand periods can save you a great deal of money.
9. Do investigate the hotel before committing. Jimmy Legg, founder of GroupExcusives.com recommends tripadvisor.com or Oyster.com for insightful, non-bias, consumer to consumer feedback.
10. Do understand Force Majeure in a contract and how it can impact your travels and financial responsibility. See GroupExclusvies.com for all the details of this creative clause.

1. Do not exceed your acceptance or cutoff dates, both can be very expensive both financially and emotionally.
2. Do not contract with a hotel for a call in block and assume people are booking into it. Often times they may choose a nearby hotel that is more affordable to them, leaving you stuck with the damages. Stay in touch with your hotel contact closely as your cut-off and arrival date approaches.
3. Do not cancel if possible! Moving forward with an agreement after it has been finalized is most times a better option. Cancellation is often 100% of the promised revenue. If your attendance is far below what you anticipated, working with the attrition clause may be the better financial approach. If cancellation is absolutely necessary you may want to investigate a rebooking option that allows you to cancel the current trip and rebook it for another set of dates that may end up working out better for you. If you go this route, I highly recommend booking immediately for the new dates. If you choose to rebook within 12 months, and the dates you pick are not available, you still owe the hotel the money.
4. Do not enter into a contract for your wedding or social event until you know what your attendees are willing to pay. If you choose a lux, swanky hotel for your wedding or event, and the room rate is high; your guests may opt to stay at a nearby hotel that is more affordable, leaving you with the contract damages for rooms that you did not fill.
5. Do not commit to the first hotel that you like. Search the market for the best value. All hotels offer deals based on their needs. The hotel you like might simply be too popular over your desired dates, and in return your expenses reflect. There may be some better options out there that may meet or exceed your desired result.
6. Do not forget to check on valet charges, taxes and gratuity as these are the most common unexpected fees. These should be clearly listed on the agreement.
7. Do not commit to an agreement if you are uncertain of the group you are trying to negotiate for.
8. Do not agree to a “call in” block if you can avoid it. It may be a bit more work to collect everyone’s names and payments, but it lessens the risk of financial obligation should they choose to not stay at your recommended hotel.
9. Do not holdback on any details of the event when negotiating a hotel agreement. The more details you provide to your hotel sales professional, to more likely you are to discover unknown incentives that they hotel may be offering.
10. Do not forget to ask for your points! Frequent Flyer/Travel points can add up very fast and can equate to some great free travel in your future. Even if you don’t belong to that hotels program, sign up! Many program points do not expire for quite some time and if you book even more programs with that hotel or chain, you could be well on your way to a free personal vacation of your own. Consider a group of 100 rooms at a rate of $100 dollars per night for one night. That is typically 10,000 points. In times like these many companies are offering double or triple points, so the same group could be worth 30,000 points. Depending on your program and if these are exchangeable for airline points, you could have just scored yourself a free roundtrip domestic airline ticket. If you book multiple groups.

After you are all done with making the deal of the century, don't forget to capture all the memories of your attendees. At GroupExclusives.com, your attendees are offered a fun way to get all your participants to share their experience in one intuitive and convenient area we call Memorys. Whether your trip is for a sports team, family reunion or class trip, simply invite all the members via the invite function, and all your attendees or participants will be able to share their individual memories in a customized, free and easy Memory. View this video and more at GroupExclusives.com.

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Jimmy Legg
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