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Determining the number of hotel rooms for a room block can be frustrating for a meeting planner. There are a lot of factors that need to be determined. As a seasoned meeting planner will tell you, it’s not as simple as telling your hotel contact that you need 100 room nights for your group. Rather, there’s this nasty little clause called attrition. Attrition rates are put in place to ensure that the planner, or group, requesting the room block is actually going to use those rooms. And you can understand that from a hotel’s point of view. They do not want to set aside rooms that will remain empty. So establishing a room block can be somewhat of a balancing act.
Benefits of Booking Hotel Rooms through a Room Block
For a meeting planner a lot of valuable information is obtained from a room block. For one, it enables the planner to track important information about the meeting and its delegates. For example, a planner is able to determine travel habits around the meeting’s dates. Having a room block also enables a planner to communicate with his or her delegates during the meeting. This is beneficial for important updates and or changes that need to be communicated to the delegates.
Tips to Help Your Room Block Negotiations
Ideally a planner wants to book the exact number of rooms for the exact number of nights that the meeting will occur. Ideally. Hindsight would be an asset, to say the least. Information obtained from a previous meeting helps a planner negotiate room blocks and attrition rates. Information to track includes; arrival and departure habits, food and beverage requirements, the hotel’s outlets usage, single and double occupancy trends. By tracking a previous meeting’s history, a planner is able to determine what acceptable attrition rate should apply to their group. Historical information will also help determine the correct amount of rooms required for each night of the conference (room nights).
3 Ways That a Meeting Planner Can Encourage Booking Hotel Rooms through Their Room Block
In order for planners to obtain valuable information about their conference, it’s important that their delegates use the meeting’s room block to book their hotel rooms.
1) Offer meeting registration discounts. Many times delegates think that they’ll obtain a better hotel room rate if they use booking services such as; Hotwire, Expedia or through the hotel directly. However what they do not realize is that many times a planner has negotiated a low rate on their behalf. As an incentive to book hotel rooms through the room block a planner can offer a discount to the meeting registration cost.
2) Offer incentives. Offering hotel giveaways, free attraction admissions, food and beverage discounts and spa packages are another way of encouraging delegates to book through the meeting’s room block.
3) Have prize drawings that are only available to attendees that booked via the room block.
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