With unprecedented access to vacation rentals through websites like airbnb and VRBO, as well as the availability of discount hotel stays through websites like Priceline and Orbitz, it’s no wonder organizations are having difficulty filling their group room blocks during in-person meetings, conventions and exhibitions.
A quick survey of industry professionals via ASAE’s Collaborate turned up the following 20 reasons (in no particular order) for booking within the official group block. Consider customizing this list and sharing it with your members and attendees via marketing materials (e.g., brochure, website and social media) prior to your next big event.
- Official hotels are inspected by the organization prior to your arrival.
- Greater informal networking opportunities exist in hotels within the group block (as this is where a majority of attendees are staying and frequenting).
- It will take you less time to travel from the meeting to your hotel room, making it easier for you to adjourn to your room to nap or work during down time.
- The important announcements and information the organization may need to share with attendees when they check-in are provided only at those hotels within the group block.
- Any room drops arranged by the organization or its exhibitors are only available to those staying at hotels within the group block.
- The organization is able to conduct high-quality meetings at desirable sites for a reasonable registration fee because a significant block of hotel rooms is reserved for meeting attendees.
- Friendly booking terms (e.g., no full pre-payment) are negotiated as part of the organization’s hotel contract.
- Meeting attendees receive a reduced rate (negotiated by the organization) for their sleeping rooms.
- Low group rates are guaranteed prior to the established cut-off date and are usually extended three days pre- and post-event.
- Attendees receive the negotiated benefits and amenities contracted for the group room block (e.g., fitness center or bottled water).
- Reservations within the group block are protected from hotel relocation (also known as walking).
- Complimentary shuttle service may be provided (e.g., to/from the airport, conference center or local attractions).
- The size of the official room block determines priority status for function space. By booking rooms outside the block, the organization may not get its preferred dates/function space on a first option basis.
- In exchange for filling the required number of sleeping rooms, the organization is permitted to use the hotel’s meeting space at no/reduced cost.
- The organization is penalized financially for not filling a minimum number of contracted sleeping rooms.
- Securing a smaller room block makes it more difficult for the organization to gain favorable hotel services, concessions and function space both this year and in future years at new/different properties.
- The hotel provides certain concessions to the organization based on filling the group room block (which help to offset registration rates).
- Helping the organization meet its room block obligation allows the event to earn reductions toward the overall master bill (e.g., comp rooms, commissions or rebates.)
- Future housing and registration rates can remain low when a majority of attendees book within the official group block.
- Booking within the group block is the right thing to do both to support the organization and to ensure the event remains financially viable.
Tell us in the comments what other reasons for booking within the official group block you would add to this list.