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Windows of Opportunity

As the holiday season approaches, the busy fall conference season gently comes to a close for a few weeks.  It gives us all time to sort, file, delete and plan ahead.  Each new year brings with it the potential for unlimited possibilities.  It is an exciting time!

The last quarter of the year typically has everyone going 'full tilt' since the Tuesday after the Labour Day weekend. There is a lot of external and internal pressure to finish the year strong. By the time we sit down to our holiday meal, we can certainly feel that we've earned it. Thank goodness for the couple of weeks between the holidays to 'renew and rejuvenate'.  (To use the R&R words from a hotel brand that starts with the letter W!)

The busy spring conference season of April - June is a match to the peak fall conference season of September - November. The 'shoulders' which have in the past been areas to find value have become harder to find.  It is so dependent on the destination and the time of year.  There seems to be more regional events being hosted during these down times which is creating increased compression.

Historically the first two weeks of January are quieter times in the meetings world, while the trend now has been that the industry itself hosts educational events during the 'off season'.  To start off 2015, Chicago will host PCMA in January; Tete-a-tete is in Ottawa at the end of January; Ignite in late spring; summer in Toronto has Incentive Works; the Canadian PCMA conference will be in Toronto later in the year and EIBTM rounds out the year in late November in beautiful Barcelona.  Who can resist an amazing keynote speaker?  Learning and coming away from an event with applicable new ideas to implement, is rocket fuel to me!

What opportunities are you creating for yourself this year?  If you hear of an amazing learning event, not to be missed - let us know! We here at The Howes Group all have a bad case of #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  We will certainly cheer loudly when someone invents the replicating machine so we can be in two places at once.  

From everyone at The Howes Group, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and an amazing new year filled with many 'windows of opportunity'!

Timely yours, 

PS.  MPI WEC is in San Francisco; CSAE will be in Calgary in October; IMEX is in Las Vegas in October...

101 Tips:  Finding Value "Off Peak"

Well done!  You have convinced your colleagues and members to allow you to book a non-traditional date for your meeting.  It’s not easy to change tradition.  Here are some ways to get the most for your money now that you have the flexibility to do so:
  1. Contact the Destination Management Organizations / Convention Service Bureaus for the cities you are considering.  They have the inside track on “need” weeks and when the best possible deal can be struck.                                                                                                                                                 
  2. In most destinations, having the peak guestroom arrival on a Sunday night will help you get a good guestroom rate.  While some organizations have difficulty convincing people to travel on weekends think of some creative ways of countering this attitude.                                                                              
  3. During peak convention seasons you will often pay a premium for everything at your venue, whereas in shoulder months a lot more is on the table for negotiation.  Meeting room rental, AV, and internet are some of the things that are a possibility.                                                                                 
  4. Ask your sales person if there are any promotions or “Hot Date” specials. They are not always offered unless you ask.  Many major hotel brands have quarterly promotions which offer some great savings and value-adds such as rebates to master billed room and at times complimentary receptions and a more favourable complimentary room policy.                                                                                                                        
  5. When negotiating, think about what means more to your organization’s bottom line and tell the prospective venue about it.  The hotel might believe that they stand a greater chance of getting your business by focusing more on the room rates while not knowing that lessening your meeting rental is of much greater importance to you.  In a perfect world you will have negotiated a great deal on guestrooms and meeting space but you might have to choose.

Congratulations Laura Young of the Bluesky Strategy Group for winning the bottle of Veuve from our booth at the Travel Trade Show!  Cheers!!

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