Maximize those room blocks

Went to another great session yesterday at the Passkey Housing Forum, this time a roundtable discussion on maximizing room blocks. My favorite quote from this one:

“Thou shalt not quote lower rates during my dates.”

My table came up with some good ideas, I thought, such as making sure everyone up and down the line, from hotels to CVBs to planners, is communicating about what’s in the contract, and what it all means. I also heard, though I don’t know any specifics, that there are software programs out there that will allow hoteliers to change rates across all channels at once, so if they do agree to keep rate minimums to your group rate during your dates, they can do it easily.

Passkey’s Smart Alerts also got rave reviews from everyone I talked with, overheard, etc., as a good way to help monitor what’s going on with the block to manage the potential for attrition. From what I understand, you can set the system to e-mail you when your block hits 80 percent, for example; you also can set it to automatically e-mail you pickup and block status reports on a regular basis, say, 9 a.m. every Friday. Granted, the people at this forum were interested in and/or already users of Passkey, but everyone went nutty over this feature. I can see why.

History was key for a number of key issues, from managing pre- and post-show blocking, track how many usually stay outside the block. My little offering on this was to include something on the evaluation saying whether or not the attendee stayed at the host hotels, and if not, where they stayed and why. I figured it would be good to know what percentage of your group has to stay at a brand mandated by their company, for example.

Another idea to get people to go to your housing company, not to the hotel directly: Make sure your meeting site’s home page only includes links to the housing site, not the hotel’s 800 number.

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