Slay the Stay to Play

Cheerleading hotel prices

When my daughter first started cheering 11 years ago, we would travel and stay at a hotel that gave our team the best group rate. We actually had a great parent volunteer who made endless calls to negotiate free parking, complimentary breakfast and more – at a great rate!

About 5 years ago it all started changing. As Varsity took over more and more of the little event producers things began to change. Registration fees and spectator fees went up. And the larger competitions came with lodging requirements.

Now, virtually all the competitions through Varsity require that you get lodging through their “stay to play” portal. And, with just a quick Google search, you’ll find that the rates parents pay for lodging is higher, sometimes a lot higher, than the street rate (or what you might book through a hotel website).

Are you ready to say enough? There’s a way to slay the stay to play.

I’m not going to take full credit for this idea, I actually discovered it in talking to another cheer parent. But I think it’s time to put it out there for the cheer world to use. I mean really, if you can save $100 on a hotel room then that’s pretty darn good.

On a recent trip I had to book rooms at $159 per night. I booked a third night (because of traveling) outside the portal and saved $50 on the third night. I took an extra call to the hotel so they could link the reservations but the savings was worth it!

So here it is – how to slay the stay to play:

First, get 3 other cheer parents together (so there are 4 parents total) You’ll need to be sure you can all work together financially.

Step 2: 1 parent (the lead parent) books a room under the stay to play for him/herself and 4 athletes. That’s right, this parent will put 4 athlete names in the online registration form (lead parent’s child and the athlete of the other 3 parents). This is the requirement, that the athletes all stay at the same hotel and are registered through the hotel portal provided to the cheer gym. There is no requirement saying every parent has to be registered through the portal. Stay with me.

Step 3: The parents of the 3 remaining athletes all book a room of their own at the same hotel through an outside source at the best rate they can find.

Hotels never give up the full allotment of rooms for one group. They always have some back for other travelers and they release rooms not sold on a daily basis – that’s why there are always rooms available through other websites less expensively.

Step 4: The total amount spent on the hotel rooms is then divided by the 4 parents. What will happen is the lead parent is reimbursed a portion of the room by the other parents who spent less.

Step 5: Upon arrival – each parent gets their own child and proceeds to the booked room as usual.

Do the math (just one night to keep it simple):
Lead parent pays $194 per night at stay to play. Parent 2, 3, & 4 pay $139 per night. Total cost for all the rooms $611. Total cost per parent (divided by 4): $152.75. Parent 2, 3 & 4 give $13.76 (each) to lead parent. Which then makes the whole arrangement even. Everyone has saved $41.28 per night.
Does $41 make a difference? Sure if you stay more than one night or have 3 – 4 competitions when you are required to stay at a hotel. That sure does add up!

Have you tried this? How did it work out for your group?

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