How to Get the Best Group Hotel Rates [2024 Guide]

Rebekah Bryant |
Table Of Contents

Planning group accommodations for events, tournaments or group travel requires meticulous attention to detail to ensure a seamless and cost-effective experience for all participants. One of the most critical aspects of this process is securing the best hotel group rates since it directly impacts the overall affordability and satisfaction of the attendees. 

When organizing an event, whether it’s a youth sports tournament, corporate event or a wedding, understanding how to negotiate rates, leverage perks and navigate the group hotel booking process can make a significant difference in your budget and the quality of accommodations provided.

What is a group hotel rate? 

A group hotel rate is a discounted room rate offered by hotels to groups booking a block of rooms for a specific event, occasion or purpose. These groups could include sporting events, sports tournaments, corporate travelers attending conferences or meetings, tour groups, wedding parties, or any other organized group requiring multiple reservations and room nights.

The group organizer typically negotiates the group rate with the hotel's sales team or management. The rate is often lower than the standard individual room rate and may include additional perks or amenities tailored to the group's needs.

Group rates are advantageous for both the hotel and the group organizer. Hotels benefit from guaranteed bookings and increased occupancy, while group organizers benefit from discounted rates and often additional services or amenities.

Group rates can vary depending on factors such as the size of the group, the duration of the stay, the time of year, peak nights, shoulder nights and the location of the hotel. Negotiating group rates requires careful planning and communication to ensure that both parties reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

How to get the best hotel group rates

When planning group accommodations for events, securing the best hotel group rates is essential to ensure cost-effectiveness and overall satisfaction for your group. 

Here are some strategies to help you secure optimal rates and amenities for your group bookings:

1. Work with an event housing management company

Working with an event housing management company like EventPipe can help streamline the process of organizing group accommodations to ensure cost-effective accommodations for your attendees.

By providing various hotel options for your event's location, you can maximize the value of your accommodation budget without compromising on quality. Plus, by streamlining room block management, you can optimize occupancy rates to better negotiate your group rates. 

With EventPipe's modern approach to event housing, you can secure the best group hotel rates for your event–ensuring a successful and affordable housing experience for all attendees.

Learn more about EventPipe


2. Book group rates in advance


Securing group rates well in advance of your event or travel dates is crucial for getting the best deals. Hotels often offer discounts for early bookings, especially for large groups. By planning ahead and reserving accommodations early, you can take advantage of lower rates and ensure availability at your preferred hotels. 

For example, for youth sports events, the timing for making group bookings depends on various factors, such as the size of the event, the location and the specific requirements of the teams and attendees. 

If you’re holding a major tournament or championship event attracting teams from multiple regions or countries, it's advisable to start planning and making group bookings as early as six to twelve months in advance. Early planning allows organizers to secure room blocks at preferred hotels, negotiate competitive rates and ensure availability during peak travel periods.

For smaller-scale youth sports events held within a local or regional area, organizers may have more flexibility in booking accommodations closer to the event date. Aim to finalize bookings at least three to six months ahead of the event to secure preferred hotels and ensure availability, especially if the event coincides with holidays or other peak travel periods.

3. Negotiate!


If you’re lucky enough to use a housing company for your events, they’ll have the negotiation part covered for you. They’re going to be your best bet for negotiating hotel rates. 

If you’re doing this directly, make sure to understand the value of your group or event by calculating what you expect to spend at the hotel and surrounding restaurants and leverage that against a lower rate. Here are some tips to help you negotiate like a pro:

  • Understand hotel pricing factors: Familiarize yourself with the factors that influence hotel pricing, such as demand, seasonality and occupancy rates. Timing your negotiations during periods of lower demand can increase your chances of securing discounted rates.
  • Be clear about your needs: Clearly communicate your group's specific needs, including the number of rooms required, desired amenities and any special requests. Providing detailed information upfront can help hotels tailor their offers to better meet your requirements.
  • Highlight potential benefits for the hotel: Emphasize the potential benefits that your group can bring to the hotel, such as enacting a Stay to Play policy, guaranteed occupancy during off-peak periods or the possibility of repeat business. Showcase any additional revenue opportunities, such as on-site catering or event space rentals, that your group may generate for the hotel.
  • Build a relationship: Establish a rapport with the hotel's sales or management team to foster a positive working relationship. Demonstrating professionalism, responsiveness and reliability can increase your credibility as a negotiator and enhance your chances of securing favorable terms.
  • Be prepared to walk away: Set clear budget limits and be prepared to walk away if the hotel's offers do not meet your criteria. Remember that you have negotiating power as a potential customer and exploring alternative options may lead to better deals elsewhere.

By following these tips and approaching negotiations with confidence and preparedness, you can increase your chances of securing competitive rates directly with hotels for your group accommodations. And remember, if you’re working with a housing company, they’ll be doing this all for you so you can get the best rates.

4. Don’t just look at price: also consider amenities & perks


While price is an important factor, it's essential to consider the overall value of the hotel package. Besides competitive rates, look for hotels that offer desirable amenities and perks for your group, such as complimentary breakfast, parking discounts or room upgrades. Request flexibility in terms of cancellation policies, payment schedules and room block commitments to accommodate your group's needs. 

Here are some more details:

  • Complimentary breakfast: Including a complimentary breakfast buffet or grab-and-go options can be a valuable perk for youth sports teams and their families, helping them start their day off right without additional expenses.
  • Free Wi-fi: Providing complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel can be essential for youth sports teams who may need to stay connected with coaches, teammates or family members during their stay.
  • On-site facilities: Hotels with on-site amenities such as swimming pools, game rooms or outdoor recreation areas can provide added value and entertainment for young athletes, allowing them to unwind and bond off the field.
  • Room upgrades: Offering complimentary room upgrades or additional amenities such as adjoining rooms or suites can accommodate larger families or provide extra space for team meetings and activities.
  • Late check-out: Offering flexible check-out times can accommodate busy tournament schedules or late games, allowing teams and families to relax and prepare for their departure without feeling rushed.

5. Ask about‌ extended stay discounts


If your group requires accommodations for an extended period, inquire about discounts for longer stays. Many hotels offer discounted rates for stays beyond a certain number of nights, so it's worth asking about extended stay options when negotiating group rates. 

Pro tip: By leveraging extended stay discounts, you can further maximize savings for your group booking.

6. Review your contracts carefully


Once you reach a group rate agreement, ensure that all negotiated terms and conditions are documented in writing. Review the contract carefully to confirm that it accurately reflects your discussions and expectations before signing. Pay close attention to cancellation policies, payment schedules, room block commitments and any other relevant details.

Pro tip: Ensuring that you understand and agree to the terms of the hotel contract can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smooth booking process for your group.

Get the best rate for your group hotel booking

Securing the best hotel group rates for your event or team accommodation requires careful planning, negotiation and consideration of various factors. By following the strategies outlined in this guide, you can maximize savings and ensure a seamless booking experience for your group.

Even better, by using EventPipe's innovative event housing management platform, you can simplify the booking process, optimize revenue potential and enhance the overall attendee experience. 

From customizable booking platforms to comprehensive reporting and analytics tools, EventPipe offers a range of features designed to meet the unique needs of event organizers and attendees alike. 

Elevate your event housing strategies and secure the best rates for your group hotel bookings.

Ready to level up your event housing management in 2024?

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