magazine | Travel | Family Friendly Travel

12 Tips to Book Hotel Room Blocks for Family Reunions

photo: Alicia Lund

Your family reunion is coming up and as excited as you are to see grammy and grampy, you're not so excited about bunking up with your younger cousins you haven't seen since their bed wetting days. Never mind that the entire, extended, enormous family is invited. Now before this happy reunion quickly turns into an episode of Family Feud, let this guide to booking hotel room blocks make sure that you get the peace and quiet you deserve in between bocce ball, BBQ's and blobbing. From group rate basics to negotiating like a pro, use this guide for your next family reunion so you can catch up with the fam without losing sleep. 

Still need to find a venue for your reunion? Start your family reunion venue search now  →

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Big Family? No Problem.

Good news, traveling with your entire family easily means you're already looking to book 9 or more rooms! Most hotels require a 9 room minimum for group hotel reservations but some special hotels only require 5 rooms or more. 
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Book More, Save More

As mentioned, a hotel room block is typically a reservation of 9+ hotel rooms. The perk of booking rooms in these large blocks is that they will save you and your family both time and money. How much will you save? When booking blocks of ten or more rooms at a time, you may be able to save 15-40% because of the group rate deals offered by hotels. Buying in bulk typically means savings, savings, savings! 

Beginning the Booking Journey

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having to call a dozen hotels around the globe to try and negotiate room block deals for your big fat family reunion? Submit a request through a group bidding platform by entering your dream budget, location and the number of rooms needed. Next, the hotels in the area will be notified and then will start bidding on your request. Finally, you will simply sit back, select your favorite hotels from the bunch and voilà, you are done. How easy is that?
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Patiently Awaiting Your Bids (It'll Be Worth the Wait)

So you filled out the room block form, set your dream budget and pressed 'enter,' now what? The hotels will begin bidding for your family business! It may take a few days, but each hotel in the area that is able to match your budget/room request will reach out to you individually with a bid containing rates, dates and rules. After you receive your online bids, you have a few options: 1. Decline (so sad). 2. Counter with another bid (and hone your bargaining skills while you're at it). 3. Lock it in! You love this bid and you're ready to commit. Finalize it and get your fam pumped.
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Timing Is Everything

The rule of thumb for reserving room blocks is typically 3-8 months ahead of your travel dates. If you are just starting to plan your event, you can search for venues on The Venue Report to message them about their event spaces. 
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Finally, Oversharing Is Appropriate

The more, the merrier in this case. Room block resources are designed to handle customized requests so you can get tailored bids back (isn't that exciting?). Simply put, the more information the hotels have from you, the more they can do for you.
Photo:Max Rand
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Only Hearing Crickets From the Hotels?

Reasons you may not have heard back from any hotels with a bid include: 1. You didn't meet the minimum night stay (2 night minimums are very common); 2. The hotels in the area may be completely booked; 3. You set your budget way too low. Inside tip: The further out you book, the less likely it is you'll run into these problems. 
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Reservation Confirmation: When Is it Signed, Sealed and Delivered?

Once you and the hotel both come to an agreement on the group room rate for your family reunion, the final contract is sent straight to your inbox! The very last step is to simply follow the link in your e-mail to make sure you secure your negotiated group room rate. Refresh your inbox and you're done (insert praise hands here).
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Did Someone Say VIP...

Yes! Your booking platform may have a special bond with hotel partners meaning your bid could include special perks and upgrades for your whole family. Talk about a happy reunion.

Editing a Reservation: Yes, You Can!

Simply email the awesome planner who has been assisting you and they will happily help you with your reservation changes. You may also contact the hotel directly and speak with the manager whom has been helping your group through the planning process.

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Warning: Your Negotiated Room Rate Can Expire

If you waited past a bid's expiration date to reserve your room but want to move forward with it, fear not. You can always re-open the bid and start the negotiations again. The original negotiated room rate and room details are not guaranteed past the expiration date, but there is always the chance that the hotel will happily assist you. Pro Tip: Always be sure to accept a bid within the stated time frame! 
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Check Those Check-In Times

Last but certainly not least, make sure you take into account the check-in time of the hotels you choose so it doesn’t conflict with the starting time of your family's celebrations. After all, there's nothing worse than you and your family coming off of a long flight and having to get ready in the lobby bathroom or Uber. Pro Tip: Ask the hotels if they would allow earlier check-in for a certain amount of rooms – there's strength in numbers! 

Still need to find a venue for your reunion? Start your family reunion venue search now →

Submit your Venue

Would you like to list your venue, hotel, restaurant, or home on The Venue Report?

learn more

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