Are you planning on a holiday with a large group of friends or a large family group?
It can be really difficult trying to find the right date, the best accommodation and where to stay.
Here's some tips to make it just that bit easier!
Choose one person to act as group coordinator, preferably someone who has some time during the day or evening to deal with emails and phone calls within the group and with accommodation providers.
Next set the date and make sure everyone puts it in their diary or calendar. For a large group you are going to need to plan far in advance, at least 6 months if not longer if you want school holiday dates (even up to one year in advance). If you are planning for a special birthday or anniversary the date may not be flexible. Even more reason to plan far in advance.
Now find which area you'd like to stay in, with a back up destination too. Look at the map and where you all live. Where is relatively easy for all the group to get to? Do you need public transport links? Do you want a rural break or town break?
List the criteria for the accommodation: number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size of lounge, kitchen, are towels and bed linen required, do you need pet or child friendly accommodation, a garden, games room, wi fi, log fire or off street parking? Do you want a pub nearby or local shops or do you want to be able to go on long walks from the door? The list is seemingly endless so pick the top three to five criteria for your search as you probably won't find everything that you want.
Now start looking for accommodation armed with your information. Many of the large holiday cottage websites allow you to search by date, size of group, region and by pet friendly and child friendly criteria. This will really narrow down the search. Take a look at Owner's Direct and Holiday Lettings amongst the big ones, but also look for regional specific websites. In the Peak District there's the Ashborne Accommodation website and Visit Tideswell, both run by local holiday cottage owners.
In the organic search engine listings you can also search for 'sleeps 9', 'sleeps 10' etc and the area or region too. This will then bring up plenty of independent holiday cottage owners websites.
You will end up with a list of possibilities. Start sending out emails to the owners direct or via the larger websites you can send a number of emails at once. Key questions are size of accommodation, availability, pet, child friendly and of course price!
Let the group coordinator handle all this and draw up a short-list of three. You may not have much time to decide as the large holiday cottages book up fast! Give everyone in the group a deadline to respond and pick a favourite and a second and even third choice.
Get the group coordinator to call the holiday cottage owner direct, speaking to them will answer so many of the questions you have and show that you are genuinely interested. You will also get a chance to pick their brains about the area, where to eat, visit and what facilities the cottage has.
Be prepared to pay a deposit of 25% or more to book the holiday cottage. The coordinator of the group can pay that up front and claim back from the group later. Find out when the balance and breakages bond is required and let the group know when their share of the payment is needed. Collect this in advance of the due date.
If you need help in organising a large group holiday, get in touch, we've been running large group holiday breaks in the Peak District for ten years: