Archive for the ‘Room Rebates’ Category

Third party housing services, site selection, and room rebates

September 29, 2011

When is it a good idea to use a third party to book rooms? Should the third party also select cities? What constitutes a “reasonable” total amount of up-charge per room?

In my opinion, the answers are sometimes, never, and nothing above $5-10.

There can be circumstances when the CVB or the event simply does not have the capability to book rooms. At these times a reputable housing service can be of significant assistance. Be sure, however, to check the amount of experience with sports events. The type, kind, and location of each property in relation to the competition sites are of the highest importance to a successful sports event.

Many third party services have just discovered sports events. Only a very few have been at it for around ten years, and I know of only one that started in sports.

I cannot imagine an acceptable set of circumstances allowing the housing service to select sites…unless the event owner just does not want to do the work (they are content to find out what the quality of the competition sites and housing arrangements are on arrival!) or, worse, they would rather get a guaranteed payout per room above and beyond all other factors.

“We are only in this for the kids!” Sure.

There is no place in our industry for event owners who do not care enough about their participants to vet the details versus other choices. There is also no place for host organizations who simply want a commission on each room above all other factors.

“Stay to play” should not be used to cover for these practices.

We should give more thought to team registration fees. Why not include any up-charges in that fee? Anything else becomes an additional tax on participants…the very folks we work so hard to get to town.

How about you? What do you think?

-Don

Room rebates: can’t live with or without them! What’s a reasonable person to do?

July 18, 2011

We fight this situation every year. With the costs of hosting and presenting an event being what they are, many events use rebates to help cover costs. A rebate, paid by the occupant(s) of a room on a nightly basis, must be disclosed to the customer prior to the booking. If the customer wishes to avoid the extra charge they can stay outside the block…unless steps have been taken to make that difficult or impossible.

“Stay to play” is the industry term for requiring everyone to stay in the block in order to participate. If registration within the block cannot be proved, those involved cannot take the field or court. Properly administered, it can produce the highest rate of capture. Proponents also believe it leads to lower room rates because hotels know they will get all of the event business.

Instituting this system is tough for an existing event that takes place year after year.

Another effective way to insure payment of rebates is for the convention and visitors bureau to use its own room booking system, one that requires all teams to book through the system. To work best, the bureau should also receive payment for the rooms, deduct the rebates, and send the balance to each hotel. This is more than many will do.

Allowing hotels to collect the rebates requires trust. It is unreasonable for any hotel to try to hide the rebates or deny they had anyone in their property from the event. Unfortunately this happens all too often. I wonder what hotels are thinking by holding back on the very people that attract visitors to their hotel?

I know the excuse that “they didn’t tell us they were with the event.” Why then, did they wear uniforms to breakfast?

Another issue relates to booking services. The use of a third party may not increase your rate of capture unless the booker is collecting all fees and paying you as they go. Actually this process can also lead to higher rates because the booker, the event, and your group may all wish to get a share. We know of cases where more than $30/night in rebates has been collected.

So much for “being in this for the kids!”

The NASC CSEE program is presenting a session on hotels and rebates at the TEAMS conference in October, and I will have more to say on the subject in coming weeks.

Kind Regards

Don