PCMA@LinkedIn: Room- Block Strategies Paul Miller, regional vice president at HPN Global, offered members of PCMA’s LinkedIn group examples of language that organizations can use to encourage (or beg, he joked) meeting attendees to book within their official room blocks, and invited other group members to share their ideas. Miller’s suggestions are followed by some of the responses he received: › Booking a room in the room block is an important way to support the association and ultimately keep overall meeting costs as low as possible. Stay- ing “within the block” is also more con- venient and helps you stay connected with the informal activities and net- working opportunities that occur at the headquarters hotel during the meeting. › By booking in room block you are supporting our event. The organization is able to expand its budgets for confer- ence instructors, perks, and events when the room block is filled. Staying in the host hotel fosters a bigger sense of community at the event and keeps you close to your “home base” for the week! › The organization has negotiated spe- cial discounted room rates with [room- block] hotels. Your patronage of these official meeting hotels makes it possible for the organization to secure the space necessary for this event at a greatly reduced cost. The hotels not only offer discounted rates and the best network- ing opportunities, but staying in the group blocks helps the association meet its obligation to the hotel, avoid penal- ties, and keep meeting registration prices down.
Attendees also can be tempted to book with housing pirates, so we remind them that housing pirates don’t guaran- tee their rates. And also that the orga- nization doesn’t back those rooms, i.e. we can’t step in and troubleshoot any reservation problems they may have.
Andrew MacCachran, CMP, Director of Meetings, American Chemistry Council
The best way to protect your block is to make sure your housing blocks accurately offer a cross section of the desired price points for your attendees and exhibitors. To do this, you must have a thorough understanding of your attendees’ wants and needs. Of course, if the lowest rate you are offering is too high for any segment of your audience, they will book elsewhere.
Gretchen Hopkins, Director of Global Accounts, HelmsBriscoe
It’s important to keep in mind the attendee’s point of view. Most are loyal to themselves first, then their company, and then the organization. They want
From Convene’s blog For more on the meeting’s industry, visit our blog at pcmaconvene.com.
THE STORY STICKS Assistant Editor Katie Kervin writes about encountering the power of story at an innovative special event: “A couple of weeks ago I attended
a small-business story slam at Dekalb Market in downtown Brook- lyn. ‘Lessons Learned the Hard Way’ featured about a dozen Brooklyn small-business owners and entre- preneurs briefly sharing funny (or tragically funny) experiences they’ve had along the way. … As each speaker took the stage — a small tented area complete with an accor- dion player who softly chided speak- ers offstage when their stories went past the five-minute mark — you could feel a swelling of support from the 70 or so people in the crowd. “Everyone loves a good story.
Storytelling is one of the main ways we communicate and relate to one another. They’re especially power- ful amongst a group of peers who share many of the same challenges — like these small-business owners.
pride of a good deal, convenience, and comfort. They need to be able to sell it to their company. They want to help the association. It needs to be a
“no-brainer” for them to book in the block. Exclusivity, rate stratification, close proximity, guaranteed low rates, deposit waivers (delays), and resort-fee discounts and waivers are all part of that. My question is how to commu- nicate that to them in as few words as possible. Communicating the benefit to the greater association is a feel-good plus in the short term.
Tracy Riggan, Director of Meetings and Events, IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries
And though not typically associated with traditional (read: professional) meetings and events, story slams can be a great way to share some of the lessons and insights we gain on our paths, and are easily incorpo- rated into smaller sessions or less formal networking events.” Read the full post at convn.org/