Having the right accommodations is an important part of a satisfying trip together. It's also often one of the first important decisions that you (or your group) will make in planning the trip and the choice should take into account various factors.
Everyone in one place...or nearby
How much time will people in the group spend together? If most of the trip is about shared activities, it makes sense for everyone to stay in the same place (or in very close proximity). This will make it easier to gather everyone in one place, and for people to partake in impromptu get-togethers. You should review the hotel amenities to make sure that there are comfortable places for everyone to convene and convenient food and beverage options on site or nearby.
Location, location, location
Staying close to the location of activities, sights, shopping, and/or events on your group trip ensures that you spend more time on your vacation experiences and less time on getting around. You should find out the budgetary requirements and preferences of other travelers in your group and factor these into your decisions regarding accommodations. If there's a wide variance in budget, look for a hotel where there is a range of budget and luxury options or find alternative hotels nearby and let people select and book their own room. Some people can save costs if they are willing to share a room. In any event, you'll want to make sure that there's enough availability and let people know a deadline for booking or contributing their deposit. If all that isn't enough to worry about, you can take the extra step of trying to account for special needs for those with allergies, dietary restrictions, children, elderly, or other needs.
Internet resources and hotel suppliers
Travelers have posted reviews and ratings of hotels and other accommodations on a growing number of web sites. Tripadvisor, one such site, is certainly worth consulting to get a general sense for whether or not a place is going to meet your expectations. They also have maps showing highly rated hotels. Before booking, you should review the hotel supplier's web site and look for virtual tours, internet specials (see also Triporama's deals listings), best price guarantees, and group booking capabilities. You can also call the hotel and ask about group booking deals and special packages or add-ons available. Ask about inclusions specific to your group like museum tickets, in-room movies, discount cards to local shops, etc. The more information you provide, the better position the hotel will be in to satisfy all of your group's needs. A helpful customer service representative is a great gauge on the type of experience you will have once there. If you're concerned, ask about noise protection from the outside and any possible work going on in the hotel when you intend to be there.
The major hotel suppliers generally have an impressive inventory of resort accommodations. Some resorts are located in some spectacular settings, such as beaches, mountains, lakes, wine country, and more. You can go for the ultimate in five-star luxury or simply find a convenient and relaxing place to enjoy your vacation. Look for amenities that fit your group's plans, such as swimming pools, spa, golf, tennis, and on-site bars and restaurants.
Families opting for hotel or resort accommodations should look into the availability of child care, day camps, kids clubs, and the like. Try to find out how the hotel chooses employees for these services, and to research to get advice and learn about the experiences of other families (look to hotel review sites to start, see above).
If you're looking to fully immerse yourself with the group, consider a vacation rental. Staying in a house together offers a lot of interaction, flexibility, and potential money-savings (eating in should also save you money). Many web sites have emerged with listings of vacation rentals from owners. You can start with those we have listed in our travel provider directory.
Not feeling it?
Don't feel like dealing with accommodations at all? You can plan a cruise, rent a recreational vehicle, camp, or just delegate the job to someone else in your group.