Whether you’re organizing a corporate conference, a sports tournament, or a student trip, one thing’s for sure: you’re going to need to find a place for your group to rest their heads after a long day, especially if they’re coming from out of town.
Want the best accommodation for your buck? Keep reading to discover the top hotels for large groups and how to book them.
How to book hotel room blocks
The simplest way to keep your group together is by booking a hotel room block: a designated number of rooms reserved for your crew in one area of a hotel.
When is the best time to book a hotel room block?
In short: there’s no bad time if you need to put up a large group of people. If you need 20 rooms or less, ask your hotel for a courtesy room block. This means your hotel will block off a section of 10-20 rooms once your reservation is confirmed, and then add more if needed.
Need more than 20 rooms? You’ve got two options. You can conduct a rough estimate: tally up an approximate headcount of those travelling with you and calculate how many rooms you’ll need based on that number. Otherwise, go with a more accurate estimate based on who’s able to share a room with other group members. For example, if you’re organizing corporate accommodation, chances are that executives will want their own hotel rooms, while members in other departments may be fine splitting a sleeping space with colleagues.
Stick to your budget with a hotel room block
Securing a hotel room block promises to make your planning process easier, and will also probably lessen the damage done to your wallet. It’s common for hotels to offer group discounts, so be sure to ask the hotel’s booking manager about arranging a deal for your stay.
What information do you need to book a hotel room block?
When booking a slew of hotel rooms, always remember how many people you’re booking for, any unique needs/requests that your group members may have, and price point. If you want to get a head start on the booking process, we suggest checking out Hotel Planner for your sports team or university group reservations, or Travel Perk for any corporate hotel booking needs.
Things to consider when booking hotels for large groups
Planning a trip for a corporate group? Stick to your budget by booking a hotel outside of the city centre; rates tend to be much more reasonable than metropolitan hotels. Of course, this probably means you’ll be further away from your conference venue. If you need a quick, comfortable fix for transporting business travellers, charter a corporate bus rental from your hotel. When it comes to corporate-class business travellers, we recommend a coach bus, which comes equipped with AC, audiovisual equipment, reclining seats, and more. For smaller groups, opt for a mini coach – it features many of the same luxuries as a full-sized coach, only with a smaller seating capacity and smaller price tag. If you want to compare different bus models, consult our Quick Guide to figure out which is best for you.
Try and book a hotel with adequate conference rooms and a Business Center. If a last-minute meeting is added to the agenda you’ll have the space for it, and a Business Center permits the more diligent among your group to set up shop with their laptop to get extra work done once all daily meetings are over.
First things first: confirm your team’s budget. If you find yourself a little short in the finance department, try pitching sponsorship opportunities to hotels. You never know if a hotel will provide a discount for your team in exchange for having their logo branded on your jerseys or helmets!
Secondly, sports teams like to keep active. Make sure your hotel has access to fitness centres and a pool. Your athletes will probably want to fit in a workout or two in between games, so it’s key to make sure that your hotel has the appropriate facilities to keep your players happy.
Once you’ve got your hotel sorted, determine how you’ll transport your team from the hotel to the big game(s). If you’re off to an away tournament, consider renting a coach bus to take advantage of its optimal undercarriage storage – it’s perfect for carrying all of your equipment and overnight bags, and it’s far comfier than most other bus models. If you’re not lugging a lot of equipment with you, a school bus might be your best bet. It’s fairly bare bones, but if your only priority is to get to your tournament as easily as possible, it’s definitely a solid choice.
If you’re a recreational sports team, you’ll probably need to throw a couple of fundraisers in order to cover the cost of your away tournament experience. Check out our infographic to help fund your ride!
College students are notorious for their ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality. Book a hotel that reflects that lifestyle. Make sure that whoever you end up booking with is okay with a little rowdiness, because let’s face it: College kids are going to party no matter what – not that there’s anything wrong with that! Just run it by the hotel’s booking specialist first and make sure that it’s fine if your group gets a little loud after a few beers.
Another thing about college groups: They run on a very tight budget. Before you start scoping out hotels, make sure you’re aware of any financial limitations. Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of hotel chains that offer great student discounts. Don’t have your transportation figured out yet? Another way to respect the budget is by renting a student charter bus to get your crew from point A to B.
Which hotel is best for you?
It’s no secret that business groups crave luxury. Choose a hotel that reflects your group’s desires and caters to their needs. Here are our suggestions for classy corporate hotels.
No matter which major city you’re staying in, you’re bound to find the hotel that’s synonymous with elegance: the Ritz-Carlton. They’re the cream of the crop in the world of hospitality, with everything that a world-class traveller could hope for. Of course, they’ve got the digital basics (quality-grade wifi to a check-in/check-out app), but it’s the establishment and its services that really give The Ritz its stamp of high-end luxury. Oh, and if you’ve got a spare afternoon, definitely make time for High Tea!
If you’re looking for something uniquely sleek, choose a Kimpton for your corporate hotel stay. Kimpton is the largest chain of boutique hotels in the world, meaning that each location has its own distinct personality. Benefit from their complimentary WiFi when you sign up with their loyalty program – it’ll come in handy when you’re catching up on a few last minute notes before heading to a presentation.
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is an international luxury hotel brand that has everything and more to please and impress the most prestigious amongst your corporate group. With locations all throughout North America and elsewhere around the globe, InterContinental proudly hosts some of the top concierges and restaurants globally. Your stay with them will likely be unparalleled to any other hotel experience.
Sports teams are notorious for being a little bit of a handful from time to time, particularly after a big win. Here are our suggestions for hotel chains that accommodate large groups who tend to get a little rowdy.
Holiday Inn Express
Sometimes, simplicity is key. Such is the case for the Holiday Inn Express, which welcomes sports teams through its lobbies all year long. Their rooms are spacious enough to accommodate any and all sports equipment, and there’s also a Parents’ Lounge for younger teams in town for away tournaments. When it comes to price point, try your luck with a sponsorship pitch. Holiday Inns have a history of providing discounts to teams who bear their logo on their uniforms.
Featuring contemporary rooms and modern amenities, La Quinta Inn & Resorts is a sleeker alternative to hotels fit for a sports team. This chain famously accommodates large groups of all ages, and is particularly accommodating when it comes to parents that are accompanying minors.
If Best Westerns are known for anything, it’s for generously sponsoring deserving sports teams and other youth groups, so have your sponsorship pitch at the ready. Sponsored discounts aside, many Best Western hotels offer free wifi, complimentary breakfast, and the rooms are able to accommodate all sizes of sports equipment.
Whether you’re heading out of town for a case competition or an extracurricular university trip, there are plenty of hospitality options at your disposal.
A North America-wide brand, Marriott hotels offer excellent deals for student groups (you can usually snag 10% off). Most of their locations come equipped with classic hotel staples: reliable WiFi, exercise facilities, comfy lounges, and even pools. Perfect for hanging out and relaxing after a student conference!
If students know how to do one thing best, it’s find a good deal. There’s no better way to save some precious cash than by choosing a reputable hostel over hotel in your area. These days, hostels are much more upscale than in eras past; most are striving for the luxury feel of a hotel while maintaining hostel prices. For example, Denver’s Hostel Fish is a super comfortable, trendy space – and it’ll only cost you $50 USD for a bunk.
Hotels in college neighborhoods
What better way to make your student group feel at home than by staying in a college neighborhood? This is a particularly good idea if you’re planning a college campus tour, say, in New York, and want to give your Seniors a real taste for what it’ll be like to stay in their future college town. For example, if you’re in town for a campus tour of NYU, check out CQ Hotel – it’s one of NYU’s preferred hotel partners and rates start at just $169/night.