Booking a hotel room for a conference can be a stressful task on your attendee’s to-do list. Organizing a hotel block can save you and your guests time and money when reserving a room.
A hotel room block is typically 10 or more hotel rooms blocked off for reservation from those not attending the conference. Booking within the block helps not only you as the conference coordinator, but also your attendees and the hotel itself as it keeps the costs low while guaranteeing reservations.
Negotiating hotel room block discounts can save you and your guests anywhere between 15% and 30% per room. When it is time to start negotiating for the best deals on your conference hotel, follow these simple steps to guarantee you and your guests receive the best deals.
1. Have a Plan. Do your research
Go into the call knowing what you want to get out of the deal whether that be the discounted rooms, free internet, shuttle services, etc.
2. Contact the hotel
Get in contact with the group sales department at the hotel(s) of your choice and let them know you are interested in booking a block of rooms, provide the representive with date and an estimated number of rooms/guests needed. It is advantageous to call more than one hotel.
- Knowing the exact number and paying for the rooms upfront usually leads to a bigger discount but do not give this information out upfront. If you don’t know, overestimate but be aware of the “allowable shrinkage clause” in your contract.
3. Put your research to use.
Inform the agent what you are looking for from the hotel, requesting the best available rate and waiting for the hotel to make an offer. After the offer is laid on table by the hotel, always ask for the more affordable option.
- Hotel agents are specifically trained to ask what your specific budget is. It’s recommend that you never answer this question as the answer will influence the rest of the negation.
4. Time is always your friend
As in all negotiations, time is truly your friend. Never take the first offer. This may require several phone calls. The longer the negotiation, the cheaper the rate. The more time invested into your event will make things easier for future commitments.
Good Terms to Know
Additionally, it is very important to read the hotel contract carefully before signing off on your blocked rooms. Knowing these terms will help make the negotiation smoother on both ends.
Allowable Shrinkage Clause: Simply, this number means the percentage of rooms you requested to have blocked that did not get filled. Aim to have a target percentage between 10-20 percent. This means if you book 20 rooms, but four or less rooms go unbooked, you will not be charged a fee.
Attrition Rate or Minimum Commitment: This is the opposite of Allowable Shrinkage Cause. Attrition rate is the percentage of rooms that must be booked to avoid being penalized.
Mitigation Clause of Resell Clause: The hotel will try to book the rooms that were not filled in your block schedule. Simply, be sure that you are not paying for rooms that are also being paid for by other guests.
Condition of Premises: Requires that all properties be in the same condition or better as they were at the time the contract was signed.
Notice: A notice clause determines who and how the person will be notified as soon as changes to the contract or cancellations go into effect.
ADA Requirements: Contracts should determine who will be responsible for following the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Deciding this is crucial as if it is not previously determined, both you and the hotel are mutually responsible for the others failure to act.
Hold Harmless Agreement: Agreements of this nature limit legal liabilities for one or both parties in protection from third party incidents. For example, if a guest gets hurt at the conference at the hotel, neither party can blame the other.