When planning and executing the housing for an event, successful room block management is crucial in order to avoid potential attrition charges. In anticipation of cancellations or no-shows, a hotel might oversell guest rooms in order to maximize occupancy over any given day. Here are five steps to prepare for and minimize the impact of an attendee relocation situation.
Don’t be afraid to discuss the hotel’s room situation ahead of time. Encourage early relocation–which means the hotel will give guests advance notice of an oversell situation, setup arrangements for them to stay in another hotel near the event location, and provide transportation from the airport. Your attendees will appreciate having that taken care of in advance so that they don’t have to arrange this for themselves.
Arrival Reports…Study Them
Review the arrival reports for each night andmake sure to identify a list of VIP guests that simply cannot be relocated and give those names to the hotel staff. They could be board members, guests with disabilities, keynote speakers or other individuals you would not want to subject to a relocation.
After seeing the advance arrival report, reach out to your attendees for help if there is a relocation scenario. Explain the situation and see if they are willing to stay at the hotel down the road, in which the attendees would incur no additional costs (outside of agreed room rate per night).
Also consider working with the hotel to offer an incentive, like a dinner coupon, to encourage the attendees to volunteer to move to another property for one or more nights. It’s definitely a better situation overall when people are able to decide on their own rather than being notified upon arrival. For those coming back after being relocated, having an upgrade or amentity sent by the hotel eases the emotional duress caused by the incovenience to guests.
Rather than inconveniencing your attendees, consider other options. One alternative is to see if your students, vendors or exhibitors are willing to make the move, or better yet, your own staff members rather than your guests. Another option is to consider sharing rooms. If you have a smaller staff group that wouldn’t mind sharing, it could free up more room space even if it’s for a night or two.
Protect Your Block
One of the essential components of a hotel contract should be a ‘relocation clause.’ This doesn’t guarantee that your attendees won’t be relocated, but there’s motivation for the hotel to refrain from choosing members of your group to move to other hotels. In the event of such a situation, relocated rooms should count againt any attrition charges.
Even with a relocation clause in the contract and proactive communication about why the hotel shouldn’t relocated your attendees, you should never be surprised by a pending relocation situation. Start checking about two weeks prior to your event to ensure you have advanced warning of a potential relocation situation. Check inventory regularly by using a meta site like booking.com or Kayak to see what’s still available during your dates at the meeting hotel or nearby properties.
Any other suggestions to prevent a situation like this? Share your thoughts in the comments section.