If you are experiencing difficulty finding rooms and appropriate meeting or event space in the destination you are seeking, or staying within your budget, you can employ creative solutions to enhance your group’s options, and to improve your chances of successfully finding a home for your meeting or program. These include:
Arrive on Sunday Night – Hotels and resorts often need business on Sunday night, so if your group can arrive or stay over on a Sunday night, your meeting becomes even more valuable to the hotel.
Consider Smaller Markets – Rather than always meeting in a major market, check out options in smaller cities too. This may be a nice change for the group, and smaller markets may have availability when the major markets are booked.
Exercise your GSOs – One of the big advantages of working through a Global Sales Organization (like ALHI) is they are a “one-stop shop” and can check multiple hotels in multiple destinations with one discussion. GSOs direct your program opportunity to their partner at each hotel to ensure a quick response, and can suggest alternate solutions to fit your needs. They also provide insight into bargains like “ALHI’s Luxury On Sale,” or to openings at other hotels.
Be flexible – When submitting an RFP it is beneficial to note a second and third choice of dates, as well as pattern flexibility. Even moving by a day or two can help. Also, provide the rate range acceptable to your budget, and list multiple destination choices in case your 1st choice is sold out.
Signing the contract -- If you can quickly sign a hotel contract, your piece of business may be even more attractive to the hotel.
Multi-year contracts – One way to ensure you will have space for future years is to sign a multi-year contract. Multi-year bookings can increase your buying leverage, secure your preferred patterns, and provide piece of mind that your group is set.
Holiday Period Dates – Hotels often have trouble filling the weeks of Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the first week of January. You will find great room rate deals over these weeks, often 20 - 40% less per night than a typical week.
The Tsunami Effect – When the tsunami hit Asia a few years ago, there were fantastic deals in Bali and Thailand for the next 12-24 months. The same situation occurred in New Orleans and Cancun due to the hurricanes. So keep in mind any area where weather damage has had a negative impact on tourism, as there may be great deals to be found for one to two years afterward.
End of Sales Periods – Hotel sales management may be more flexible on issues of rates and terms at the end of the month, end of the quarter, end of the half year, and end of the year, as they desire to produce certain amounts of room revenue during these periods.
Trying some of these suggestions could enhance your group’s options, leading to greater opportunities for the success of your program.
By: David Gabri, President and CEO, Associated Luxury Hotels International for the May/June 2013 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.
David Gabri is president and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), which has the Global Sales responsibilities to the meetings and incentive marketplace for its distinctive portfolio of over 140 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts worldwide which specialize in meetings and conventions. Contact your local ALHI Global Sales Professional – Jolene Boatright at 804-716-2045 or firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.alhi.com.