Hotel Booking for Sports & Team Travel: Tips to Help You Plan Like a Pro

by | May 29, 2024 | For Organizers

Are you a part of a large sports organization, club coordinator, a coach, or even a parent with the task of booking team travel? For many, this is not your day job. Without some guidance, organizing travel and accommodations for a sports team is no small feat. Between coordinating with players, managing schedules, and making sure everyone’s needs are met, it can feel like you’re trying to solve a puzzle while new pieces are being added. 

To help ease the stress and ensure your team’s hotel experience runs smoothly, here are our top tips and tricks for making the most out of your hotel planning.

Win Big With These Tips and Tricks for Group Sports Travel

1. Start Planning Early

The early bird doesn’t just get the worm; it often gets the best selection of hotel rooms, too. Large destination tournaments can bring hundreds of teams to a single area, consuming much of the local hotel inventory. Starting your accommodation search early gives you a wider selection of options. For sports teams, this means more time to ensure the chosen hotel can accommodate the unique needs of athletes and coaches, or that it’s close to your sports event, the best pizza place, shopping, or maybe a local attraction during team downtime.

2. Understand Your Group’s Needs

Every sports team, club, or organization has specific requirements that can range from needing rooms with ample space to store equipment, early breakfast options with protein before morning competitions, or late check-out times after a game. Identifying these needs ahead of time will help you filter hotels that can’t accommodate your group effectively.

3. Ask About On-Property Features

The right amenities can make a big difference in your team’s comfort and preparation. Look for hotels with features such as a fitness center, pool for relaxation and recovery, laundry service for uniforms, and space where teams can gather for meetings or meals. With hundreds of players, hotels can be noisy and busy during a tournament, so finding properties with some additional space for groups to congregate can help parents and staff stay organized.

4. Consider Meal Options

Nutrition is key for athletes. Inquire about the hotel’s meal offerings and whether they can provide nutritious, athlete-specific meals or even accommodate any food intolerances, allergies, etc. Some hotels might offer buffet-style dining, which can be a convenient and cost-effective option for teams. Breakfast prep time is important too for those long tournament days that start very early.

5. Check for Transportation Services

If your sports event is away from the property, consider choosing a hotel that offers shuttle services to and from the event or venue. This can save time and simplify logistics, especially in unfamiliar cities where parking at event centers, convention centers, or stadiums can be congested and time-consuming.

6. Review Cancellation Policies

Plans change, especially in the world of sports. Make sure you understand the hotel’s cancellation policy, including any deadlines for making changes to your reservation without incurring fees – and then share out the policy to your group. From experience, we might even suggest you reiterate this, as well as all the other details, several times for your group (or, you’ll be answering dozens of individual questions over and over again).

7. Gather Feedback Post-Stay

After your stay, take the time to gather feedback from the team about their experience. This can help you make better-informed decisions for future bookings and highlight areas to negotiate on or inquiries to make next time. Large hotel brands have some consistent features, amenities, and policies, so taking in some feedback from your group can help ensure they’re comfortable and happy for future events.

8. Utilize Group-Focused Booking Sites

Today’s technology offers solutions like GroupSync™ to streamline the hotel booking process for groups and teams. It allows you to access real-time group rates and availability, submit bid requests, compare options, and even book directly, saving you hours of back-and-forth communication with hotels. We know you’re juggling dozens of other details in managing a team or a club, taking the stress out of sourcing and booking hotel rooms for your team can be a big check off your bigger list!


A Great Team Trip Awaits

Being responsible for group travel and accommodations means wearing many hats and keeping numerous balls in the air – no matter the sport. While the logistics of booking hotel rooms for sports teams can seem daunting, following these tips and employing the right tools can transform it from a source of stress to a streamlined part of your role.  With a little preparation, clear communication, and the right technology, you can make hotel booking for your team a breeze—allowing you more time to focus on the game itself.

Ready to take your sports team’s travel experience to the next level? Start planning your team’s hotel booking today by creating your FREE GroupSync account!