Perhaps you’re a couple planning a destination wedding and you need to book a block of rooms at a hotel for 40 guests? Or, maybe you’ve been tasked with finding hotel rooms for your kid’s soccer team? It sounds simple enough at first; book a block of rooms for your group at your hotel of choice on your favorite online travel site. But, as any professional event planner will tell you, it can quickly get a lot more complicated.
First, on most popular online booking sites, like Expedia, Kayak or Travelocity, you enter your trip details, like destination and dates, and then start your search from a list of hotels. However, travel websites are only searching for only one room at a time; which doesn’t really help you find hotels with availability for your entire group. The next roadblock: the booking website will only allow you to reserve 7 or 8 rooms per booking. Depending upon the size of your group, that means that you would have to book multiple reservations to accommodate your entire group, and that’s a huge headache to manage.
Alternatively, you could skip online options and simply call hotel after hotel directly to ask them about the possibility of booking a room block for your entire party. Your call would be routed to the Sales department at each hotel and, if there’s inventory available, they will be happy to quote your price and send you a contract. But booking a room block directly, as a non-professional planner, may not be as simple or risk-free as you think. Sometimes the lowest quoted rate may not be the best total value for your group. For example, another hotel may offer a slightly higher rate but include a free breakfast that would save your group a lot of money and inconvenience.
As a group booking you may not realize of all the special pricing, discounts, upgrades or concessions available to you. Most people aren’t aware of the extensive list of available discounts and upgrades available to groups just for the asking, like free WIFI, suite upgrades, complimentary rooms and reduced parking fees, to name a few.
You should also know that when you book a group of rooms, the hotel will require you sign a legal, binding contract, with some significant performance requirements. Failure to read or understand your obligations under that contract can lead to serious financial penalties. For example, if you book 40 rooms and only 30 people show up, you may still be obligated to pay for unused rooms, unless you’ve negotiated an attrition allowance. Hotel contracts can have pretty restrictive cancellation policies, too, leaving you on the hook if your event cancels or changes.
Never fear; Vindow is here!
There is help available when booking group accommodations, to avoid major pitfalls. Vindow’s revolutionary booking platform combines the RFP procurement process, contract management, and data intelligence in a single, versatile solution.
Vindow’s platform makes searching and booking group room blocks so easy and efficient that anyone can do it – no matter how inexperienced. Simply follow the step-by-step process to create an RFP (Request for Proposal) that outlines your group’s needs and preferences. Search and request bids from hotels that meet your exact criteria and location preferences. Our powerful Search filters and Vindow Score quality and safety rating system lets you choose with confidence. Then wait for multiple, competitive bids to arrive.
An added bonus: Vindow’s proprietary Bid Intelligence feature can save you up to 15% by showing you the “True Cost” for your entire program before you make your final selection.
You don’t have to be a professional event planner to get the best deal, with the best terms, for your hotel room block. With Vindow’s revolutionary RFP lifecycle management platform, you can book room blocks with the confidence and buying-power of a pro.
Go to www.vindow.com to learn more.