Create new revenue streams with room block management


Looking for ways to increase event revenue?

This article will explain how housing can create multiple new revenue streams.

Room block management provides many benefits for event organizers. It allows planners to control their room blocks, it provides a central place to store data helping to prove the value of events, and it streamlines the booking process for attendees. One aspect that is vital, but often overlooked, is the ability to increase event revenue with event accommodation management.

Let’s start with the basics to making money with room block management and then we will explain how using housing software can capitalize a monetary gain.

The basics to making money with room block management

Step one of room block management is securing hotel contracts. You need a hotel to house your guests, and the hotel needs you to meet their business objectives. The following should be negotiated in all hotel contracts:

  • Commission: commission on room nights is the most common way to earn revenue. Major hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG cap their commissions at 7%. Other hotels will still go as high as 10% to compete with these major chains. Remember that you are providing valuable business to the hotel and are permitted to earn commission to cover event costs.
  • Rebates: rebates are important but not as common as commission. Negotiate for rebates as well as commission in hotel contracts. With the recent commission cuts from 10% to 7%, rebates are a great option to make up for lost revenue. Average rebates range from $5.00 to $10.00 per room night.
  • Concessions: concessions increase the value of hotel contracts while saving money on overall event spend. Common concessions include:
    • Complimentary guest rooms (i.e. 1 complimentary room for every 50 rooms picked up)
    • Room upgrades (i.e. 1 suite upgrade for every 25 rooms picked up)
    • Free meeting space if food & beverage minimums are met
    • Complimentary room amenities (great for VIPs!)
    • Complimentary parking for staff
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi in all guest rooms
  • Attrition: This is the percentage of rooms that must be filled in order to avoid paying a penalty. There are many creative ways to lower your attrition risk. If the hotel wants 90% at 30 days and you want 80%, there are several ways to negotiate. Ask for a tiered attrition over multiple dates. This might see you releasing 5% at 90 days, 5% at 60 days and 10% at 30 days. You get your 80% and the hotel gets more time to resell those rooms thereby reducing their risk. You can also offer to enforce a fenced rate (non-cancellable or prepaid), increase your F&B spend, offer Head Quarter Hotel status, or give back some of the concessions you’ve already won.

Using room block management software to increase event revenue

Room block management software is vital for increasing bookings inside the block. After reviewing the basics, you know that every additional room night booked inside the block can increase commissions, rebates, concessions, and/or lower attrition risk.

Apply the following tactics to increase pick up and boost overall revenue.

  • Compare rooming list reports to registration reports: with event housing software, it’s easy to pull real-time reports of attendees who have booked inside the block. Compare this to registration reports to see who has registered but not yet booked hotel accommodations. Communicate with these guests explaining the value of booking inside the block (lower rates, proximity to the event, location to other attendees). Meetingmax has developed integrations with RainFocus and Aventri which allow you to quickly view all registered attendees with zero rooms attached to their record.
  • Inventory alerts: A benefit of using room block software is the ability to set alerts to automatically send a notification when a block reaches a certain percentage. For example, if a system alert is applied for when a block is 85% booked, this buys time to contact that hotel and ask if additional inventory is available to add to the block.
  • Get strategic with cut-off dates: When working with sub-blocks, close out room bookings two weeks prior to the general block. For example, if the general block cut-off date is two weeks prior to the event, then set all sub-block cut-off dates to one month prior to the event. This creates a two-week window for general attendees to book any remaining rooms that were not fulfilled within the sub-blocks.
  • Shoulder nights: event planners often overlook shoulder dates and it’s an important component to include. Some guests like to extend their stays to explore the host city, while others want to stay a day late to secure a better deal on a flight. Make it easy for attendees to extend their stay by having a few days pre and post event available for them to book.
  • Protection from room poachers: room block software makes it easier to stop room poachers. There are many strategies you can employ such as having registration link directly to housing and communicating the risk to guests by advising them to only book through approved channels. Read more about this topic here.

Other creative ideas to increase event revenue with room block management software

In addition to increasing bookings inside the block, here are four other ways that you can create revenue with event housing software.

  • Sponsorship: room block management software is a great platform to sell ad space to sponsors. Meetingmax offers vertical banners on the main booking site, and banners in the emails that are sent direct to guests. This is an easy option to increase event revenue.
  • Remarketing campaigns: create remarketing campaigns which target all attendees who booked through your event housing site. Promote and sell this to event sponsors by guaranteeing a certain number of impressions and/or clicks on their ads.
  • Booking fees: apply a nominal booking fee to all reservations booked through the software. Choose whether to apply this fee on a per reservation or a per room night basis. Meetingmax integrates with popular payment gateways, such as Stripe, so that you can collect payment immediately.
  • Reservation penalties: charge reservation penalties for late bookings, late date changes, and/or late cancellations. Integrating your room block management tool with a payment gateway allows you to collect fees immediately. An upside to penalties is that they help to encourage ideal guest behaviour such as early bookings.

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