When traveling with friends and family, you may qualify for group reservations. Hotels often require a 10-room minimum (of double occupancy which equals 20 people) and airlines typically require a 10-passenger minimum. If your group fits into those criteria, the booking process differs from booking reservations as individuals. And while there are a few cons to booking this way (including some discount myths), there are also numerous benefits.
- You get a real human helping you out through the process.
- You get the fairness of everyone paying the same rate.
- You get the benefit of being able to get rooms at the same place and seats on the same flight.
- If your group is only a little bigger than the number of units (seats/rooms) available at a low price, the supplier (or a good group representative) may open up a few more in order to ensure they get the group booking.
- Full price isn't due until (usually) 30 days prior to departure. By booking air reservations in bulk (and often hotels as well), you'll be able to make a deposit and pay the remainder as you get closer to traveling. This helps with planning so you can send reminders to people, do fundraising activities, and folks don't have to pay for big expenses too far in advance.
- Some hotels will offer additional amenities such as morning papers, room upgrades, or fruit baskets when booking a big block of rooms.
- Special requests: These can often (but not always) be accommodated, including making sure the entire group has rooms/seats near each other or on the same floor of a hotel.
- Locking in availability: Hotels and airlines have their room/seat inventory management down to a science and their goal is to maximize profitability. By booking in bulk, you can lock in a certain rate and ensure you have enough space for your group. Group room/seat availability varies by hotel/flight; just plan early (several months in advance).
Remember, hoteliers want to put heads in beds just as much as airlines want butts in seats. The same goes for cruise lines and activity operators. A half-full ship sailing to the Caribbean is a sad ship sailing to the Caribbean in the supplier's mind. Groups are the industry's way of helping manage their inventory and ensuring they meet their sales numbers.