Stay and Play
The IQA has a Stay and Play policy that will begin with World Cup VII in 2014 and continue into the 2014-2015 season and future years at U.S. and Canadian regional championships and the World Cup.
The Stay and Play policy requires that in order to participate in a particular event, teams are required to book hotel rooms in one of several tournament-approved hotels through our travel planner. The only exception to this rule is for teams whose official mailing address is within 100 miles (161 kilometers) direct distance (or “as the crow flies”) of the tournament site address. By calculating this distance “as the crow flies” instead of driving distance, teams who are “on the bubble” in terms of distance from the site will be included, so there will be no further exceptions made for North American teams whose direct distance is greater than 100 miles.
WHY IS THE IQA USING A STAY AND PLAY POLICY?
A Stay and Play policy is among the most effective tools we have to ensure overall event quality. In addition to lowering rates for teams on hotel packages, this policy increases our negotiating power with future host cities by allowing our travel planner to commit to a fixed number of room blocks for teams at hotels. This number translates to a greater economic benefit to host cities, and will encourage greater city support of our events in terms both of amenities and financial contribution. This commitment of room blocks also increases the number of potential hosts that are likely to submit bids.
For the continuation of our regional championship and World Cup programs, it is crucial that we institute a Stay and Play policy to continue to receive quality bids for these events.
HOW DOES STAY AND PLAY HELP MY TEAM?
Benefits for teams from implementing Stay and Play include:
LOW GROUP ROOM RATES
Stay and Play leverage allows our travel planner to negotiate lower room rates for our blocks than we have offered in the past. Without Stay and Play, a considerable number of hotels in the best locations would be available only at very high rates. With a fixed commitment to purchasing room blocks, our travel planner will be able to offer rooms for lower rates than if we had to reserve rooms based on anticipated occupancy, as we have done in the past.
MORE ROOMS CLOSER TO THE TOURNAMENT LOCATION
Hotels that are familiar with the Stay and Play policy know that their block will fill up and are willing to work with our planner to allocate rooms. This, in turn, produces more rooms closer to the tournament location and more rooms at a wider variety of hotels and price points.
ASSURED AVAILABILITY OF ROOMS
Teams are guaranteed they will get the room type (double or king) they reserve. No more arriving later in the evening at your hotel and finding there are no doubles left even though that is what you reserved.
Our travel planner will have staff available on-site throughout check-in, and will be available via phone for the entire duration of the event. The presence of a travel specialist means that teams will have a point of contact who can assist in resolving issues that may arise regarding transportation, check-in, or hotel service.
STAY AND PLAY FAQ
Who determines the rules for Stay and Play?
The IQA determines the guidelines and procedures for the Stay and Play policy. The travel planner then implements the policy.
Who is the IQA’s travel planner?
Our travel planner is All About Group Travel. AAGT offers rates that are competitive with other travel planners and also offers responsive service tailored to each individual team’s needs.
What other organizations use Stay and Play?
The concept of the Stay and Play policy is utilized by leagues across the athletic landscape, including many high school sports programs, USA Volleyball, USA Lacrosse, and USA Field Hockey.
What hotels will be available via Stay and Play?
The IQA and AAGT will consider all hotels willing to offer a contract for rooms at a set price. AAGT evaluates multiple hotels near a tournament site and evaluates factors including cost, location, and amenities when determining which hotels they will contract with for a particular event.
How many rooms does my team have to book?
Your team must book enough rooms to accommodate every player on your tournament roster. Also, your team must book enough rooms to abide the hotel's occupancy policies. This means a maximum of two people per bed per room (some packages may also include sleeper sofas or cots and will include an extra two people per room).
How many nights does my team have to stay?
For World Cup VII, teams must stay two nights, and have the option of staying three.
What happens if my team doesn't want to stay in a tournament-approved hotel?
If your team has not booked approved hotel accommodations (and your team does not have an official mailing address within 100 miles of the tournament location), the IQA will contact your captain to discuss the situation. If your team has not booked approved hotel accommodations three weeks before the event date, your spot at the tournament will be forfeited.
Will teams be able to find cheaper options on their own, as they have done in the past?
With the implementation of Stay and Play at our events, AAGT will be able to offer rates that are lower than any they have offered in the past. This is due to a number of factors, including that the ability to commit beforehand to a fixed number of rooms allows AAGT to negotiate better rates. In addition, AAGT will be able to reduce cost to teams by offering hotel options with and without transportation to the event site.
Is my team allowed to stay at the house of a family or friend that is near the tournament site?
In order to be effective in securing better bids for our events, we require that all teams that are based outside the 100-mile radius stay at approved hotels, not at houses of families or friends or rented locations. The IQA and AAGT will be ensuring that the number of rooms each team books is consistent with the number of players on that team’s tournament roster.
What are the rules governing my team's selection of a mailing address?
Teams should not select an arbitrary mailing address that is not reflective of their true location in order to seek an exemption from the Stay & Play policy. Each team should ensure that their mailing address is in reasonable proximity to the team's geographic origin and practice area. In cases where a team's mailing address is significantly distant from its practice area (e.g. if a university team chooses to use a player's home address as a mailing address), the IQA reserves the right to designate an address adjacent to the team's practice area as the team's address for the purposes of adjudicating exemption from the Stay & Play policy.
Why are some rates at a particular hotel higher than the rates I can find at that same hotel on my own?
Players may find similar rooms at slightly cheaper rates that do not include the small commission that AAGT makes from each room booked. Other costs associated with rooms booked via AAGT are transportation costs (which will be removed in the non-transportation options) and the cost of a complimentary room that is occupied by senior event staff. To minimize the impact of hotel costs on teams, the IQA will not offer complimentary rooms to its staffers during the 2014-2015 regional championships.
Players may find rates available via online services that add further fees after the rooms are booked; these rates are also only available for a small number of rooms and require the fees to be paid in full at time of booking.
How does AAGT’s payment plan work?
AAGT requires that the hotel fees be paid in full no later than 30 days before the event. AAGT accepts payment via credit card, check, or purchase order.
Why isn't the hotel I want on the list of options?
We consider proposals from any hotel that wants to host teams, and actively solicit hotels to negotiate rates. However, AAGT cannot force a hotel to offer a room block for an event; it is a business decision by the hotel. Sometimes hotels have other business booked on the tournament dates, so they do not have rooms available to provide a block. Also, some hotels offer rooms at rates that are too high.
How does Stay and Play apply to non-North American teams?
Because the IQA does not work with a travel planner outside of the U.S. and Canada, we cannot yet guarantee those international teams the same low rates as a benefit of the Stay and Play policy. Therefore, there are no plans to implement a Stay and Play policy for these teams at regional championships this year.
In attending the World Cup, teams that travel from overseas incur costs that are significantly higher than those of teams traveling from the North American mainland. Teams that qualify for the World Cup and are not based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico will have the Stay and Play policy requirement waived so that they may find the cheapest possible housing to make their trip possible.
Page updated 3/13/14