8 tips for getting the best group rates on hotel bookings
When booking corporate travel, you’ve got two main considerations for the group: flights and hotels.
We’ve already covered what you can do to get the best rates on group flights, and now we’re going to take a look at how you can do the same for hotel stays.
Getting better rates on group hotel bookings is considerably easier than getting better rates on air travel. You’ve got more room to negotiate as hotels don’t have the same occupancy predictability and price fluctuations as air travel. They’re more likely to offer you a volume-based discount without worrying whether they’re sacrificing a higher-paying customer in the future.
New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Caribbean—you name it. These eight tips will help you get the best hotel rates when booking group travel, wherever you are.
Buckle up and let’s begin.
8 Ways to get group discounts on hotels
1. Negotiate directly with hotels
At the top of our list is to negotiate directly with the hotel you’re interested in. You might be able to access volume-based discounts or special rates if you get in touch early enough, so let them know exactly what you’re looking for and the size of your group.
It’s also worth stressing the benefits of an ongoing business relationship between your company and the hotel. Outline the frequency and volume of business bookings your company is looking for, and highlight that you’re looking to find a hotel you can rely on for all your accommodation needs.
Don’t be afraid to shop around: you can use one offer as leverage when negotiating another. Business travelers are key for the hospitality industry’s post-covid recovery—use that to your advantage when booking rooms.
Plus, over time you’ll be able to build strong relationships with hotel reps. As the saying goes: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. In the context of getting the best group hotel rates, the hotel sales rep is definitely someone you want a strong connection with.
2. Use a travel management company to make bookings
Negotiating directly with hotels is great, but getting access to pre-negotiated rates is even better—especially when those rates have been negotiated by experienced corporate travel agents and experts.
Wondering how to access these rates? Well, with a travel management company (TMC) like TravelPerk, the negotiating is all done for you. TravelPerk has pre-negotiated rates with a wide variety of hotel chains and accommodation providers, such as Premier Inn, Melia, and Eurostars.
This ensures you get the best possible rates for group bookings, and simplifies the reservation process from start to finish. No back-and-forth with different hotels, no manually uploading guest details, no time spent waiting for sales reps to get back to you—just an easy-to-use online booking tool that gets the job done by EOD.
3. Don’t just focus on the price
When it comes to bagging a deal, you need to look further than the price—look at what’s included in the entire package. Does the hotel offer a shuttle service to and from the airport? Are any meals included in the rate?
Alongside what the rate already includes, see if you can negotiate any further perks or upgrades. Hotels may not always be flexible on price, but they might be willing to throw in some added perks for your group—maybe early check-in or room upgrades where possible. These perks can contribute towards some significant savings. You can always add these on arrival, but it’s worth considering when booking.
Without any perks or amenities, guest rooms are just a bed, a bathroom, and a TV (if you’re lucky!). It’s the extras that can make one deal more valuable than another, so it’s key to keep benefits in mind when making a final decision.
4. Book in advance
The earlier you book, the more likely you are to get a good rate. You might be tempted to leave it until the last minute in the hopes of an exclusive deal—trust us on this one. This is a risky tactic even with small bookings, never mind large group bookings.
Booking early ensures you get a good rate, and it also ensures hotels have the availability you need. Leaving a 30+ room booking until the month before can mean that your options are limited to hotels with that availability—meaning you’ve far less choice and room for negotiation.
It’s also important to remember that negotiating your own group rates takes time—it can involve days, even weeks, of back and forth with hotels. Give yourself the time you need—don’t leave everything until the last minute.
5. Opt for smaller rooms
It’s standard practice for employees to have a room to themselves when traveling for business, so you’ll likely need one room for each member of your group. It’ll come as no surprise that different rooms have different rates. For example, a room with one king bed is typically less expensive than a room with two queen beds. It might not seem like all that much, but when you’re making group bookings, the difference quickly adds up.
It’s also worth considering the number of rooms of each size a hotel has. Smaller hotels might be limited in the number of standard rooms they have, meaning you’ll likely end up paying higher prices for premium rooms out of obligation.
6. Choose non-refundable rates
If you’re 100% sure you’ll need the rooms over a certain period, book a non-refundable rate. Most hotels offer a reduced room rate that offers no flexibility, but you could be looking at savings of up to 25% if you don’t need flexible bookings.
7. Check your corporate credit card loyalty program
You may already have—or be looking at getting—a corporate credit card. Using these cards to pay for your group bookings can get you company hotel discounts, the occasional free room, or even some add-ons like extra meals.
AmEx, Capital One, Citi, Chase, and Discover all maintain travel programs, and you can use your points to save money for your company. These types of corporate cards can be expensive to own and maintain, but using them frequently enough quickly earns the investment back.
It’s also worth considering if a hotel has its own loyalty program. Making regular bookings with the same hotel or hotel group can get you extra benefits and rewards. It’s a good idea to do some research ahead of making the booking—that way you know you’re getting a good deal.
9. Inquire about extended stay discounts
If you stay at a hotel for longer than five days, you can normally get what’s known as an extended stay discount. This might not be on the hotel’s website, but it’s common practice to ask for one—and it could make a big difference.
Make group booking a breeze with TravelPerk
Group bookings can be a corporate travel manager’s worst nightmare, especially if they need to be made relatively last-minute. Negotiating rates takes time and effort, and is just one of the many components involved in organizing group travel.
So, don’t! Save yourself time and money on group bookings by opting for a TMC.
TravelPerk’s pre-negotiated rates help ensure you get great hotel rates for group bookings. The intuitive platform is easy to navigate and use, and you can find your ideal group booking from a selection of 26,000+ hotels in our inventory.
TravelPerk’s special hotel rates
One of the benefits of booking business travel with TravelPerk is that we’re able to negotiate some of the most competitive corporate hotel rates for our customers around the world. In fact, you can choose from over 26,000 special hotel rates when you book with us.
Plus, you can make group bookings even easier by using our group travel management service for end-to-end group travel bookings. We take care of every detail—using our connections and experience to ensure you get exactly what you need, without any of the nasty surprises that can impact group travel bookings.