I have spent numerous Friday nights at our front desk watching groups check-in, and one of the first concerns arriving guests have is 'where am I going to sleep and who's going to be my roommate?'. I have watched several processes, some are very organized and work well... others not so much and ultimately distract from the purpose of the event.
Figuring out rooming assignments is a unique process for each type of event. Youth groups have different concerns than would a family retreat or couples retreat. However, for every event there are several pieces of information you must establish as a baseline, and all require an open line of communication with your Conference Services coordinator or whom ever your host property has designated to coordinate details.
- Your host property must understand what you are trying to achieve through your event. Understanding 'why' helps the property select the spaces that will enable the best ministry for your group. For example, a retreat that includes individual prayer time and devotions is going to be placed in a room block far from a youth group who is looking to include lots of energy into every activity.
- Be sure that you clearly understand the specific rooms that your group has been assigned and the furniture configuration of the room.
- Ask for a building layout, especially a version that you can print out and take notes on.
- Communicate with the property on any guests with disabilities that might need an accessible guest room.
Taking on the responsibility to assigning guests where they are going to sleep is a cumbersome task, but also an opportunity to control your guests' experience and eliminate potential problems or issues. Here are a few hints that we have picked up through experience:
- Be sure to include on your registration form a place for guests to indicate their gender, roommate request, and any special accommodation they need. When you're figuring out rooming you're likely to be focused on finding rooms for each person, skipping simple question like male or female may land a name like "Sam" into the wrong gender room.
- I have found the easiest way to complete rooming is to print off the building layout and pencil in everyone's name until the assignments are completed.
- Print off and divide all the registration forms into piles, organize them by male and female, then create a pile for each group (if your guests registered as a group), then a pile for individuals.
- Start filling rooms to their capacity, be sure that most of your rooms meet the minimum capacity requirements. If a dorm room should have seven guests, place at least seven guests.
- Transfer your penciled-in room assignments to a spreadsheet.
- Prepare for on-site registration and print out the pertinent information and place it into a packet for each individual or group. An organized arrival process will start your event out on the right foot!
A few thoughts for all-inclusive events with multiple rate package options:
- Rooming for adult events is fairly easy. Start with all the single occupancy registrations, and place them in the rooms with the lowest bed counts. Then move on to double occupancy registrations. And onward to triple plus occupancy registrations.
- Dorm rooms get a little more complicated because you need to place more people in each room. Dorms usually apply to youth groups. A simple solution is to start with a counselor then place additional youth into the room. Understanding the furniture configuration is essential. Many properties count a queen bed as room for two guests. The counselor needs their own bed, not their own sleeping space.
We've got rooming assignment sheets and building layouts available to download to help our event planners. Check out the resources you need for the property you are planning with here!