• Lauralee Shapiro

It’s a wash……

Have you ever been at the airport and they ask for volunteers to bump to the next flight because they are over booked? How about arriving at a hotel, with a confirmed reservation and they move you to a different hotel because they are over booked?

“How can this happen?” you think……you have a confirmed reservation. Often, it is even pre-paid.  Hotels, just like the airlines, play a numbers game and oversell their inventory, intentionally!

When you contract a block of rooms for a group, hotels will net your contracted block by anywhere from 5% – 20% in their reservations system. This is known as “washing the block” or “netting the block”.  The percentage varies based on the hotel management policy and the destination, but you can be sure that just about every hotel does this.  They anticipate a certain number of no shows or cancellations so they oversell in an attempt to be at 100% occupancy on any given night.

Here is where you can run into a problem…..what if the hotel sells out BEFORE you have had all of your contracted rooms committed?  For example, you have contracted 200 rooms on the peak nights. The hotel is actually, really only holding for you 180 (they netted it 10%).  Even before you reach your cutoff date, the hotel is sold out and you still still have 20 attendees who need to book their rooms. What do you do?  The hotel is now in breach of contract, right?

Avoid mishaps like this and other potential issues by working with a meeting professional.  Want to learn more? Contact Lauralee Shapiro, CMP at www.LauraleeShapiro.com

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