Using Meeting Patterns to Help Get Your Best Rates & Availability

Let’s talk rates and availability. Historically, a hotel’s major objective is to sell guest rooms.  In today’s marketplace, hotels have added restaurants to enhance their property and compete with other hotels to sell more guest rooms to the individual traveler. They have also built or added meeting space to their property to increase selling more guest rooms to groups.

Nowadays, food & beverage, meeting rentals, catering, A/V charges and other meetings charges have grown and are quickly becoming their own profit centers for hotels.  A hotel looks at the big picture when evaluating your group.

There are several factors that can help you to achieve the best rates and availability for your group. One of these is the arrival and departure pattern during the week for your attendees and your program. Wherever you can, remember to be flexible with your meeting dates and the patterns for your group’s arrival, meeting and departure. Maintaining this flexibility can almost always work to your advantage.

Try to utilize these simple rules of thumb to get better rates and availability. And let’s not forget concessions.

  • Sunday is usually the slowest, least filled night of the week for most hotels. If you can make Sunday a travel/group arrival date or extend your meeting to include a Sunday night room block, you should become a much more desirable meeting to a hotel, which in turn will garner you lower rates, prices and concessions.
  • Sunday arrivals are favored at most hotels, especially resort hotels and destinations. Sunday through Wednesday, Sunday through Thursday or Sunday through Friday patterns are all great options. The hotels are trying to maximize the number of events they can fit into a week.
  • Try not to split up Sunday and Monday for your group overnight block if at all possible. Most hotels discourage this and some won’t even consider Monday arrivals.
  • The same can be said for not splitting a Friday and Saturday with your room block. Some resorts won’t consider this pattern.
  • City and airport hotels prefer weekend groups. They are filled during the week with transient guests and need your business on the weekend.
  • Resorts tend to be just the opposite—preferring weekday groups for the best rates.

If you’re still not receiving the rates and availiability you’re looking for, try asking the hotel what pattern they prefer and what rate reduction and concessions would they offer if you could be flexible and work with them.

Additionally, if you’re not receiving the meeting space you desire, consider shifting your pattern to either adjoin, abut or overlap another group to help the hotel fill in its space and sleeping rooms completely.

Many hotels will have holes in their weekly and monthly booking cycles. It’s likely that they would gladly offer you lower rates and added concessions if you can be flexible and fill those times for them.  Plus, the shorter the lead time, the more anxious they will be to fill those gaps.

Kerry Clark

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