Hospitality Answerman

About the Hospitality Answerman

Dean Miller, national sales director for Visit Fairfax (, the convention and visitors bureau in Fairfax County, Virginia, is a great friend of reunions. Contact him (703-790-0643; when you are planning a reunion in the Washington, DC, area. Fairfax County is nearby, affordable, and conveniently located to all the area has to offer. 

Top 10 crummy “reasons” for not attending our reunion


Q? Our 25th year high school reunion is next summer, and last month our reunion committee sent out “Save the Date” postcards to everyone for whom we have an address. Already people are contacting us with reasons why they can’t come … more than a year ahead of time! How can this be? They can’t all have dental appointments scheduled this far ahead! What can we do to get them to reconsider? A! Many times, people will offer reasons why they can’t come, when what they’re really saying is, “I don’t want to come!” While there will always be unavoidable conflicts and…

How did my friend get such a good rate?


Q? I was chatting with a friend who said she booked her family reunion into a beach resort in South Carolina in mid-August, and had gotten a really good rate for everyone. How did she do it? I would have thought a beach resort in August would be awfully expensive. Is there some trick we need to know to get a better deal on hotel rooms? A! There’s no trick … it’s simply a matter of understanding when a particular destination is likely to be busy, and when they’re likely to be less busy, or decidedly “unbusy”. Almost every destination has times…

What are realistic expectations for hotel extras?


Q? We’ve been looking for a location for our family reunion next summer. We’ve found several hotels we like in the New England city where we’d like to go, but the rates seem awfully high, and the hotels want to charge “extra” for just about everything. When I mentioned to one hotel salesperson that we thought they should give us the rooms for our hospitality space and banquet free of charge, he said these weren’t “realistic expectations.” Was he right? A! It really depends. As we’ve discussed before, pricing and amenities (including items and services provided for “free”) that a hotel or…

How do I plan the reunion’s “big” meal?


Q: I’ve been tasked with planning the “big” meal at our family’s reunion next summer. Because I’m a pretty good cook, everyone assumed that I was the perfect person to be in charge. I know it’s one thing to cook a large family dinner for Thanksgiving or Christmas at home, and another to organize an event at a hotel, where there are professionals doing the cooking and everything is expensive. Where do I start? A: The best place to start is by deciding what sort of meal your family members would like. Do most of your folks want a formal sit-down meal…

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