Why is Group Business valuable?

1. IMPROVES SLOW AND SHOULDER SEASONS

2. ENCOURAGES USE OF FACILITIES

3. GENERATES UP TO 40% OF REVENIEW

4. MAKES LOCAL CONTRIBUTION

RATES STRUCTURE FACTORS
Season l Size of group l Length of stay l Type of room l Number or persons in the room l Attendance

RATE SCALES
Rack rates l Run of the house flat – rate arrangement l Discounted rates

1. SITE SELECTION

MEETING REQUIREMENTS
Ask the following preliminary questions
– Are meeting objectives best served by a resort metropolitan hotel or conference centre?
– From where are most attendees coming?
– Should site be regionally rotated?
– What kind of accommodations can attendees afford?
– Should site be considered a jumping-off point for pre- and post-convention trips?
– What are anticipated needs for hotel rooms, other facilities and services?
– What are projected convention dates?
– What is anticipated attendance?

CONVENTION HISTORY
Include for five-year record of previous meetings:
– number and types of hotel rooms reserved
– number of no-shows
– types and numbers of functions guaranteed
– annual attendance at each
– arrival and departure patterns
– promotional assistance from hotels, convention centres and bureaus
– association’s payment history
– exhibit program (if any) details

For each year, calculate expenditures on food and beverage, hotel rooms, exhibits, hotel room service, restaurants, other on-site activities

CONVENTION BUREAUS / HOTELS
For bureau or hotel contacts, find out:
– name, title, address, phone number
– services the bureau will provide
– how long hotel contact has been with hotel
– names of general manager, director of sales, convention services manager, reservation manager, banquet manager

2. SITE INSPECTION
Check hotels for:
– number of singles, doubles, suites
– rack rates for each
– complimentary room policy
– housekeeping / appearance
– adequate public space
– meeting room capacities / dimensions
– lighting, ventilation, temperature controls
– soundproofing
– sound systems
– obstructions
– staging area
– exhibit facilities
– drayage policy
– available equipment – services
– access to banquet kitchens
– elevator service
– security / fire safety
– facilities for handicapped
– distance from convention centre, airport
– renovation plans
– overlapping conventions-recreation, entertainment, parking facilities
– credit, gratuity, liquor policies
– theme parties
– union requirements
– concierge

Investigate local:
– food, beverage, entertainment taxes
– alcohol laws, special licenses
– public transportation
– overflow housing options
– entertainment
– accessibility
– promotional assistance
– climate
– holidays

3. NEGOTIATIONS / BOOKINGS
Be sure to research:
– facility’s pricing structure
– other planners who have met at site
– dollar value of your meeting
– complimentary room policy
– rates at comparable area properties

Negotiate reasonable group rate:
– flat rate
– sliding scale
– other

Obtain food and beverages quotes or determine date to negotiate them.

Possible negotiable items:
– staffing
– exhibit space, setup
– cut off dates
– complimentary rooms
– credit, deposit arrangements
– recreational facilities
– gratuities
– function-room fees
– parking
– decorating, cleaning, security

Make tentative bookings and agree on option date.
Put all agreements in writing:
– proposal
– letter of agreement

4. CONVENTION CENTRE
Name of convention centre contact:
– position
– how long with facility

Name of convention services manager:
– where can be reached
– backup person

Set up meeting with site staff to discuss:
– meeting, exhibit requirements
– available equipment, services, setup crews
– negotiable rental rates
– additional fees and charges
– move-in, move-out dates
– release dates
– food and beverage support, costs
– union specifications
– local and building regulations
– shipping requirements

Request from facility:
– complete scaled diagrams of booked spaces
– manual of equipment, services
– manual of operating policies, procedures

Set up procedures for handling changes in tentative program.
Be aware of negotiable items:
– deposits, payment schedules
– rental ratesk some charges
– flat rates, “menu” of prices
– equipment costs
– other

Review facility contract:
– seek legal counsel
– eliminate non-applicable items
– determine liability vis-a-vis subleases

Set up dates for pre-convention briefing. Arrange for post-convention critique, records processing.

5. CONFERENCE CENTRE
INITIAL STEPS
Review your planning:
– review contract
– review CMP
– review tentative agenda vis-a-vis reserved meeting and function space
– re-check meeting and function backup space
– review cancellation, forfeiture and no-show policies

THE MEETING
Determine A/V needs:
– list anticipated audio/visual equipment needs
– review list with on-site technicians
– arrange for unavailable equipment
– establish a/v production needs
– determine in-house production capabilities
– arrange production by conference centre, outside supplier, and/or your staff

Planning the meeting:
– determine rooms setup (s)
– specify meeting materials and room amenities
– review details, services, etc. with conference coordinator
– review type and scope of requirements with concierge

Meal Functions:
– Review menu, schedule and seating options with staff
– Check options for coffee breaks
– provide accurate attendance estimates
– check service charge, setup fee and guarantee policies

Arrivals and departures:
– determine arrival and departure times and requirements
– check airport transportation, reservations for same
– set number and location of registration tables
– review baggage handling policy, fees for same
– review transportation options for program excursions

(Οκτώβριος 1999)

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