Eight weeks ago, a client's pickup report was at 63% of their block which would have put them into significant attrition. As of late last week, the report showed them at 93% of their block, well above the required 80% with a 13% bonus range in case of slippage. While a tremendous relief - yes, we all did 'the happy dance' - it is not a place any of us wanted to be including the client, the hotel or me.
There isn't a group that I have ever worked with who get 'all' their reservations in by cut off. The trend is better than it has been for late reservations while there is always room for improvement.
In March, my 'Top Ten Reasons to Book Within the Block' article was picked up and published in the national magazine The Planner. This tells me that this continues to be an issue keeping folks up at night.
The secret weapon is and always will be: communication. Years ago when I worked in an ad agency, I remember how we would bore of the clever ads and were ready to move on while the audience was 'just' getting it. When I worked in radio at Majic 100, the formula for advertisers was to ensure high rotation as listeners need to hear a message at least five times before it makes any impression.
So, just when you feel that you've reminded folks enough - tell them again. For all parents and children out there who have said and heard, 'Don't let me have to tell you twice' - it really is five times!
Director, Global Accounts
Top Tips to Encourage Booking in Block
Offering value to your delegates is key to ensuring they book within the block.
1. Ensure your rate is competitive
Group rates are designed to be lower than standard rates while pending the meeting space:bedroom
ratio, the difference if made up on the rate.
2. Offer an 'Early Bird' Special
This is an 'age old' strategy while it still works. Saving $100 or a chance to win next year's registration makes a difference to many attendees.
3. Book Outside Levy
If you delegate books within your block, they pay a lower registration fee than a delegate who books outside the block.
4. Non Refundable Deposit
Up to six weeks out, a 50% non-refundable deposit is applied to the credit card on file.
If the group falls into attrition, ensure you clarify that these funds can be applied to the attrition.
5. Communicate the benefits
Let your delegates know the 'Top Ten' reasons they need to book within the block. (Repeat x5)
Being at the right place and the right time can bring unmeasurable networking value. It's important to listen to your delegates and possibly survey them to ensure you know the reasons why they are booking outside the block. Remember the reason you ensure there is a block is for their benefit.