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 AUDITS AND EDUCATION:


Christy Richards (at right), managing director of planning and development for


the National Association of Realtors, details howher group audits attendee accommo- dations in the “ZIP Drive” sidebar (on the


opposite page). Tampa Bay & Company Vice President of Sales Norwood Smith(below) thinks that, although it is “a delicate place to go,” associations must


educate their attendees regarding the


“need to support the event by staying in the designated properties.”


question did elicit some good discussion: What does it matter to a CVB where a group’s meeting attendees are staying? “I don’t know,” Calvo said. “What difference should it


make? If the point person in all of this was somebody from Tourism Montreal, why do they care if our people stepped outside of our block and went to the Marriott? I don’t know the answer to that.” For ECS at least, the key broker in all of this has been


the CVB. According to Calvo, for recent and upcoming ECS meetings in Seattle and Montreal, it was those cities’ bureaus that were able to make the deal for both meeting space and hotel room blocks for ECS. “We were not able to work directly with the centers in those places to make it happen,” Calvo said, “until somebody from the bureau with a lot of energy [stepped in].” If a CVB can make such deals possible, again, why does


it matter where exactly an attendee stays? Could the bureau also somehow help a group identify members who have gone outside the block and count them toward an agreed-upon subsidy for the convention center? “We can’t chase the delegate,” Smith answered. “We


don’t know where they are, and the only way—the entity getting paid at the end of the day, or that needs to get paid, is the convention center. So it’s gotta come from that dele- gate-occupied room that is trackable. Otherwise I wouldn’t know how to produce the revenue to give it to the center.”


While granting that “every bureau would love that,”


Ortale noted that most associations don’t have the technology in place to determine where outside the room block its atten- dees are staying. “Are they going to force their members to declare where they’re staying?” he said. “Some people feel that’s an intrusion of privacy. And the incentive is not there. There have to be some other methodologies.” 


If a CVB can make convention-center meeting space and hotel room-block deals possible, why does it matter where exactly an attendee stays? Could the bureau also somehow help a group identify members who have gone outside the block and count them toward an agreed-upon subsidy for the convention center?


www.pcma.org pcmaconvene May 2011 49


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