Since the pandemic, hotel staffing shortages have been a significant issue for housing managers. Imagine the stress of contracting a block of rooms and then not knowing if the hotel will have adequate staff to remain open during your event. Yikes! One of our clients had requested mid-week shoulder nights added to their event and was told that the hotel was not open mid-week as there was not enough staff to run the property. Talk about a missed opportunity!
While hotel staffing shortages are improving, it’s still vital to have this discussion with your hotel partners ahead of time. If you think your attendees will stay on shoulder nights, ensure the property is open. Inquire which departments they are short-staffed in so that you can make a plan; it’s often housekeeping so if you need to include clean rooms in your hotel contracts, then do it. Better to be bullish upfront than have an onslaught of complaints post-event.
Hotel rates are largely based on supply and demand. Due partly to the ongoing labour shortage and stalled new hotel construction over the pandemic, hotel room supply is not keeping up with pent-up demand. As such hotel rates are continuing to rise, and are projected to jump in 2023.
How does this affect event planners? Firstly, it’s important to contract early and lock in your hotel rates before prices climb higher. Secondly, it’s important to negotiate strong hotel contracts. From rate audits, to leveraging your BATNA, to enlisting the help of the local CVB, here are a few tips for stronger negotiations in 2023.
Many organizations outsourced their event housing operations during the pandemic due to staff shortages. It was a great solution at the time, but now it’s time to bring event housing, and the revenue associated with it, back in-house. Here are a few reasons to consider moving to in-house room block management:
Traditionally, event planners collect rebates and/or commission on the room nights that their event picks up. A hotel rebate is a set dollar amount that’s part of the hotel room rate; This typically ranges from $5.00 – $20.00 per room night. Hotel commission is a fixed percentage of the hotel room rate; this is typically between 7% – 10% of the room rate (and you must be a certified travel agent to collect it). What’s wild is that event planners traditionally don’t see any revenue from room block management until months after the event. Once the event concludes, they must reconcile with the hotel to confirm the number of room nights occupied and then wait for payment from their hotel partners. All this to say, that in 2023 we are normalizing collecting event housing revenue upfront.
(Louder, for those in the back). IN 2023 WE ARE NORMALIZING COLLECTING EVENT HOUSING REVENUE UP FRONT!
How you ask? By changing the payment flow. Let’s look back at what a hotel rebate is – a set dollar amount that’s part of the hotel room rate. This means that the attendee is paying the rebate. Rather than paying it at the hotel, deduct that amount from the room rate and charge your attendee a rebate at the time of booking. Now, most attendees are not familiar with a rebate, but they are familiar with service fees (think of Ticketmaster). Your attendees will see a total cost for their hotel room, with partial payment upfront, and the balance due at the hotel. At Meetingmax, we offer free integration with Stripe so that you can collect money during the hotel booking process. There are a variety of options available to collect revenue including booking fees, deposits, reservation penalties, and tiered cancellation fees.
Now, more than ever before, we are expert multi-taskers in our jobs. It’s more important than ever to have key data pushed to us. Especially event planners, who tend to juggle more balls than the average person. You need software providers who push key data to you. At Meetingmax, we have developed some helpful features to notify you of how your housing events are performing, such as:
Attendees are very smart and most people are motivated to find a deal, especially on hotels. By integrating registration with housing, and mandating that attendees book through the official housing channel, you will see more people booking inside your contracted room blocks. Benefits of integrated event registration and housing include: