How to: Fill Hotel Room Blocks

Your convention is months away and you have established a hotel room block, but how do you keep attendees from reserving a room outside your room block? This is a primary concern of many meeting planners, as the need to fill room blocks is vital to the overall success of the convention or meeting.

“What’s in it for me?” That is what the attendee is asking when they see hotel information on their registration site. Your attendee’s need to reserve a hotel room for your event, but how do you convince them to reserve a room within your room block?

As the meeting planner, you must ensure that you are creating  a hotel contract with minimal risk for your event by starting with a reasonable room block and the necessary clauses to protect your company. Not reaching your room block means owing the hotel attrition, which has the potential to add up to thousands of dollars if you are not careful.

Here are some tricks to provide incentive for your attendees to reserve a room within your room block:

  • Negotiate the lowest rate possible and hold the hotel to not publishing a lower rate over your event dates.
  • Offer a discount on registration for the attendee’s that book at the hotel.  It could be a discount on the hotel itself or one of the sessions or socials.
  • Offer a “VIP” reception at the hotel on the first day of the event for just those booked through the block.
  • Attendees may want to see a cash value or some sort of discount associated with the hotel.  Try working with the hotel to offer something complimentary like breakfast, drink vouchers or free Wi-Fi.
  • Get your local CVB involved. Most CVB’s can put together a welcome packet full of discounts at local attractions or restaurants that can be put in your hotel welcome packet.
  • Enter attendees into a raffle for a cash prize if they book within the block.
  • You can work with your registration system as well. Determine if they have the capability to disable registration for the event unless they see your reservation at the hotel first.
  • Increase registration by a certain dollar amount if they book their sleeping rooms outside the room block.

Given all of these incentives, your attendees may still book outside your room block for various reasons. In this case, place a clause into your hotel contract that allows you to audit your attendees. The hotel will use your attendee list from the event and compare it to those attendees that booked at the hotel over your event dates. You can pick up those few attendees that did not register through your block but still stayed at the hotel.

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