Factors to Consider When Seeking To Secure Hotel Inventory for an Event and Determining the Right Compensation Model for the Event Rights Holder
Teams are going to have to stay somewhere when they travel to your tournament. Offering the convenience to book hotel rooms in close proximity to your event venue through your personalized online booking engine at discounted rates can add tremendous value to the overall tournament experience.
When you facilitate lodging for teams, you have the opportunity to earn rebate commissions on every hotel reservation made and or request properties provide complimentary rooms to event staff. Offering a hotel booking platform that keeps track of these bookings will become a profit center that helps fuel growth.
However, each event requires a unique strategy for sourcing partner hotels and maximizing rebates. It is essential for Event Right Holders to identify their event big picture housing goals, understand the challenges within the market, and work with Book Your Block to derive a strategy that accomplishes their key objectives.
1. Size of the Event: An event that draws over a hundred teams that will travel into the area may generate 1,500 + rooms per night. If you are attracting a large volume of attendees that will need accommodations, it is vital to secure enough inventory to meet the demand created by these groups. If teams are not able to find hotels, there is the potential for them to withdraw from the tournament, cause chaos with your event schedule, inconvenience other teams through last minute logistical changes and compound negatively the tournament experience for many groups.
2. Location of the Hotels: Ideally, your team’s athlete families will want to be located close to their field complex and no more than 30 minutes drive from the facility. A high rebate request may lead to hotels in the immediate area declining the RFP resulting in hotels sourced at a geographic distance further from the fields and thus increasing the travel-time for teams. The question becomes does a longer game commute create a negative overall tournament experience and result in those clubs or teams not returning the following year?
3. History of the Event: If the event has a proven ongoing track record of bringing a large volume of guests to the area, which has financially benefited the hotel or local hotels, then the hotel will see far less risk in allocating a block of rooms and may even offer the tournament the run of the house.
4. The amount of Hotel Inventory in the Region: Hotels compete with other similar properties. The more hotels in the area the more willing each hotel will be to negotiate.
5. Name Brands: Families are accustomed to and prefer staying in hotel chains they have experienced as they know what level of comfort and service to expect. Brand hotels are typically less willing to negotiate than local independent family run hotels. Independent family run hotels are less appealing to your attendees.
6. Are Competing Events Operating the Same Dates: If your tournament competes with other events for room blocks the hotels will have more negotiating power. The hotel manager will likely allocate rooms to the event that requests the minimum financial compensation from the property.
7. Peak or Non-Peak Season: If the event is seeking hotels in the non-peak season in a resort region you will have significantly more leverage with the rebate amount as hotels will be keen to participate and have an opportunity to fill their hotels that otherwise could be unsold. However, if you are seeking a block of rooms in the peak season when the hotels are confident they are going to sell out, the hotel may not participate as a partner hotel if the rebate and complimentary room allocation cut significantly into their profitability.
8. Weekday or Weekend: Hotels in a business area may have significantly higher rates on Monday to Thursday nights than on weekend nights. Such hotels may be interested in allocating a block of rooms if they would otherwise have limited demand to sell them
9. Timeline for Room Block Sourcing: The further out Book Your Block can present event dates the more willing the hotels will be in offering room blocks and lower rates.
10. Sourced Hotel Price Range: You know your registered team demographics and what kind of budgets these team families can afford to allocate to hotels. Securing a range of accommodation rates within these budgets is essential if teams are going to attend the event without complaints from their athlete families.
10. The Tournament Special Event Rate compared to Online Booking Sites such as bookings.com: Our mutual goal is for event attendees to feel that they received a competitive nightly room rate for the duration of their stay. Book Your Block includes a clause in all our contracts that the partner hotel must not offer the same room type at a rate below the negotiated tournament rate.
11. The Room Rebate and Complimentary Room Requirement v the Competitiveness of the Special Event Rate: The hotels naturally calculate the room rebate and any complimentary room requirements into the Special Event Rate. If your requirements are too high this will raise the price of the Special Event Rate the attendees will pay. If the event’s combined financial requirement is above to the market conditions the hotels will decline the RFP and the tournament will have to source hotels from greater distances to satisfy attendee demand. The ability of hotels to satisfy the contractual lowest rate requirement also depends upon the requested rebate amount and comp room requirement. If the events rebate plus complimentary room requirements are too high thereby increasing the Special Event Rate teams and their athlete families will fell like they are being taken advantage of and they will attempt circumvent the Stay to Play policy. The maximal number of bookings from attendees at the special Event rate ultimately increases the accumulated rebate revenue.
12. Block Release Dates: Book Your Block provides a positive and honest review of the event to convince the property to participate as a partner hotel. We customize a professional event RFP with the accommodation requirements and show the sales manager our modern online booking site and efficient electronic communications. The hotel offers room blocks in the belief that the event attendees will fill these rooms. However, they request a Block Release date when any unsold event room block inventory returns back to the general inventory of the hotel. The release date is typically one month in advance of the event for tournament but may extend if the room block allocation occurs during high demand dates. It is therefore important to encourage teams to place Hold Blocks on team rooms as early as possible and subsequently have athlete families reserve these rooms promptly.
13. Attrition: Some high demand area hotels request attrition, which means that the property mandates that the event guarantees contractually that a high percentage of the rooms will sell. If the attrition target is not reached the event will be responsible financially for the full nightly rates of any unsold rooms under the target attrition dates. Book Your Block strives to contract hotel partners without attrition clauses.
Stay to Play
It is essential that Event Right Holders understand the complexities of the above variables relating to available hotel inventory and potential compensation. It is critical that Tournaments actively promote and communicate their “Stay to Play” policy, advising that all teams requiring accommodations must make those reservations through and only through the Book Your Block online booking site. Hotels are significantly more interested in participating and providing room block allocations if they know that the event mandates that all teams book only with the partner hotels. Failure to strictly adhere to this policy disrupts the entire process, results in unsold rooms, frustrates the hotels and ultimately results in committed hotel partners refusing to renew annually, limiting available room block inventory and pushing up prices in future years.
The Book Your Block automated system collects and tracks each athlete family reservation and associates it with a tournament team providing a detailed “Stay to Play” audit report listing each teams hotel reservations. Clearly communicating consequences for groups that violate the stay to play policy may upset a few teams that wish to circumnavigate the hotel process but builds relationships with the hotels and in the long term ensures enough inventory to cater to the future growth of the event. Book Your Block recommends requiring as part of the check-in process that teams provide hotel information and cross-referencing that to the Book Your Block stay to play team audit will ensure event right holders maximize their event rebates.