Each month we discuss a tip to consider as you negotiate your contract with the hotel for your conference and meeting. As authorities on this process, we have taken note over the years and each month we share a tip with our readers. We really do have a list of 101 things to negotiate!
Here is this month's tip:
Top Tips to Encourage Delegates to Book in Block
Offering value to your delegates is key to ensuring they book within the block.
1. Ensure your rate is competitive
Group rates are designed to be lower than standard rates while pending the meeting space: bedroom ratio, the difference if made up on the rate. In the contract, have the hotel agree that they are not going to offer rates lower than your conference rate as this undermines the integrity of the rate that you have negotiated.
2. Offer an 'Early Bird' Special
This is an 'age old' strategy which still shows successful results with our clients. Saving $ 100 or a chance to win next year's registration makes a difference to many attendees. Again this is a way to demonstrate that you value the reservation within the block.
3. Book Outside Levy
If you delegate books within your block, extend to them a lower registration fee vs. a delegate who books outside the block. This creates aggressive and ensure the delegate understands how important it is that they book within the block. Remind them how valuable they are! Reward those who support your organization.
4. Non Refundable Deposit
Up to six weeks out, a 50% non-refundable deposit is applied to the credit card on file. If the group falls into attrition, ensure you clarify with the hotel that these funds can be applied to the attrition. It creates commitment from the delegate and your organization. On a case-per-case basis you can then determine if a registration if eligible for a refund. Typically the delegate is able to cancel their reservation up to 24 hours out without penalty which puts the planner in a position that they are not able to get out of that with timeline. A deposit ensures the delegate is serious and is not simply holding a room with no real intention of attending.
5. Communicate the benefits
Let your delegations know the 'Top Ten' reasons that they need to book within the block. (Repeat x5) Being at the right place and the right time can bring unmeasurable networking value.
It is important to listen to your delegations and survey them to ensure you know the reasons why they are booking outside the block. Remember the reason you block rooms is to ensure there is a room for them when they attend the conference. Communication helps them understand why you book a block of rooms.