With the advent of hotel sites like Expedia and Travelocity, and the popularity of trendy accommodation sites like Airbnb, one of the biggest struggles and frustrations of meeting planners is getting their delegates to book within the block and stay at their host hotel to meet attrition obligations outlined in their hotel contract. Having delegates stay outside of the host hotel not only disrupts your objective to have like-minded individuals networking at your event, but it can potentially lead to attrition charges for the association. At ConferenceDirect, we do our best to ensure there are clauses in your contract to ensure you’re protected if planners fall short of their guest room obligations, but we also want to arm you with resources to help encourage your delegates to network with their colleagues at the host hotel.
Here are some tips to help your delegates to book with the host hotel block:
- Ease of registration – ensure booking procedures are clear, and outlined often throughout your conference marketing
- Offer an early-bird prize like a room upgrade for those who book at the host hotel, or a spa gift certificate, etc.
- Communicate any changes and/or updates in your policies and procedures (i.e. changes in registration procedures, enhanced technology enabling one-stop shopping for housing and registration, etc.) to your hotel.
- Review all marketing opportunities for you to partner with the hotel to encourage attendees to secure a guest room at the hotel. Plan to communicate multiple messages to the attendees prior the reservation cut-off date.
- Review the pickup regularly – If you are a client of Stephen and Leanne’s, we help with this task 😊
- Education – most of our delegates are not in the meetings industry and don’t understand the implications of where they book their hotel room; remind them why its a good idea to stay at the host hotel:
- leads to better networking especially in the evenings,
- save on transportation time and costs,
- reduces risk to your association and keeps conference registration costs lower
- Robust social media strategy – don’t forget to promote the hotel and all applicable incentives via your organization’s social media and your conference social media. Lean on your hotel CSM for their social media handles and any pics that you can use to help promote
Leanne’s Tip – if you are savvy with video and pics, why not film/snap some pics of the hotel including guest room shots, spa shots, business centre, fitness centre, club lounge (if applicable), lobby lounge and other interesting facts about the hotel. Create an instagram story or YouTube video with your footage 🙂
Other incentive ideas for getting your delegates to book within the block:
- discount on next year’s conference registration
- spa gift certificate
- decreased conference registration fee for those who book within the block (this is a very popular, and effective method)
- waived resort fees, if applicable
- special pre-conference reception for those staying at the host hotel
What tips and tricks have YOU used to get your delegates to book within the block?