When you're headed into the Sydney area for business, you need accommodations for everyone on your list. While you may have a specific set of questions based on your group--the number of outlets available in the rooms, the wireless internet capability, or allergy-friendly accommodations, for example--there are several key questions you should ask your chosen hotels before deciding to book.
1. Do you offer group rates?
Before booking your hotel rooms, make sure you know whether the hotel offers group rates! You may be able to get the hotel's group rates by going online and checking their website (Hey, you're already halfway there!), or you may need to call the hotel and ask. Don't be afraid to call your preferred hotel to see if they'll offer you a group discount: sometimes, all you need to do is ask.
2. What do you consider a 'group?'
Some hotels start to book group rates at as few as five rooms. Others want at least nine rooms before they'll let you book with their group rates. Before you book, make sure you know how many rooms you'll need--including what the rates will do if, for example, someone cancels at the last minute and you no longer need one of the rooms.
3. What fees and taxes are included in the price?
Should you expect anything to be added to the price at checkout? You want a hotel that will be up-front about your costs. Even though your business is probably footing the bill for the occasion, you don't want to submit an expense report that's significantly higher than what you estimated you would spend on the trip. Some hotels choose to add in booking fees, cleaning fees, and even conference room rental fees after your stay is done (regardless of whether you actually used the conference room or not).
4. What is included with the price of booking the rooms?
When you're on a business trip, you're going to need to take advantage of a number of the hotel's amenities--and your team may want to take advantage of even the ones that aren't strictly necessary. Make sure to ask about:
Are there office or desk facilities? Will you have a location where your team can meet and work together? Will you be able to access that area at all times?
Is WiFi included in the cost of the room? Some hotels still choose to charge for access to their network--and you can't afford not to have access to the internet when you're on a business trip. Make sure that WiFi is included. If your hotel indicates that you'll need to pay separately for it, consider asking them if they'll offer a voucher or waive that fee as part of your group discount.
Will team members be able to access the gym, and other amenities? Some hotels offer free access to those amenities. Others charge an access fee: either a flat rate throughout your stay or a price per day to use those amenities. Make sure to clarify which ones are included in the room price so that you can let your team know what to expect.
Desk facilities in Zara Tower's Soho Suites
5. How soon should I reserve a block of rooms at your hotel?
Ideally, you want to reserve your block of rooms as soon as possible, especially if you want all of your coworkers located as close together as possible. Many hotels encourage you to start making your booking 3-8 months out, especially if you're planning for a big corporate event in the Sydney area. Keep in mind that Sydney hotels fill up fast, especially around conventions. Ask your hotel how far in advance they want you to book to ensure maximum convenience for everyone.
6. Will the room block include rooms for the party close together?
You're travelling with your coworkers. You're there for business. You don't want to have to run around the hotel, navigating a maze of rooms to find one another to ask a quick question or to get together for dinner.
Before booking your block, ask the hotel to ensure that you'll be located close together. If the hotel can't offer those guarantees--especially during a busy season--you may want to call around and learn more about your other options.
7. What will I need to do to edit my reservation?
All too often, when you're planning a corporate trip, life happens. At the last minute, another coworker or two decides to come along, and there's not an open bed for them in the reserved block unless you want to put them on a sleeper sofa. You changed the mix of people coming, and now you need an extra room or two to accommodate gender differences. Maybe someone cancelled halfway through the planning process, so you now need fewer rooms. Make sure you know what you need to do to make a modification to your reservation. Talk with the hotel about how far in advance you'll need to make any changes to the reservation as well as when you will be penalised for those changes.
8. Where are room blocks usually located? (Or, conversely, 'Where is my room block located?')
No, you're not headed off on a luxury vacation, but you do plan to get some sleep at some point. If your room is located near a busy walkway, you may have a lot more noise to deal with than if you're tucked away in a quieter corner of the hotel. Make sure you have an idea of where your room block should be located--and if you need it, ask for peace and quiet so that you can spend more time relaxing on your trip.
9. When is the deposit due?
Let's face it: at the end of the day, payment is important, and you need to know when you need to have that deposit in to confirm your rooms. Ask the hotel when you need to have those funds in (and how much you'll need to pay) to ensure that your trip is successful.
You're headed into Sydney for an incredible business trip, and we're here to help make your stay a pleasant one. If you need accommodations in Sydney, contact us today to learn more about our hotel and everything we have to offer.