Learn The Lingo – Part 3 of 3
This is the last of a three part series on lingo you should know in the meeting and events industry. The following are some hotel specific terms.
Walk – When a hotel is oversold, yes….this happens, they need to move guests to a nearby hotel. When an airline is oversold, they ask for volunteer to be “bumped” to another flight, but when a hotel “walks” a guest, you are not asked. You generally arrive at the front desk to check in and are told you will be sleeping somewhere else. The airlines give compensation for being bumped, hotels will generally offer the guest room at the alternate hotel complimentary. There are some great “walk clauses” that can be added to your contract.
MOD – This is the manager on duty. The hotel general manager is not always there.
Back of the House – Hotel guests see the lobby, bars, restaurants, meeting rooms etc., but there is a whole other side to a hotel that guests do not see. This included service elevators, kitchens, laundry room, employee meal room and much more. Planners are generally not welcome to wander the back of the house areas but on a case by case basis, they are granted access depending on their needs and the reasons why they want to be there.
ROH – Run of House – when you contract a room block, the hotel will usually call it run of house. This is a combination of all types of room categories with no set percentages or promises. It is a true mix of all rooms in their inventory.
Rack rate – this is the full, highest room rate a hotel will charge for a guest room. Look on the back of the door in a hotel room and it likely shows the rack rate. A hotel may actually charge rack rates when they are almost sold out or over peak periods like Christmas in the Caribbean or when a city hosts Super Bowl etc.
Tiered rates – if your attendees are paying for their own rooms and you have a variety of economic demographics attending, you may want to have the hotel quote tiered rates. This will give you several rates to offer attendees based on each of the different room types the hotel has in inventory. For example, you may get a standard room courtyard view, standard room, city view without a balcony, standard room city view with balcony, deluxe room, concierge floor, junior suite and one-bedroom suite. Be sure to have the contract state how many rooms in each category they are allotting to your group as well as what happens when one category is filled. Will they add more or does reservation need to sell up to the next highest category?
Booking pace – When you track your history (room block pick up / revenue and F&B spend from previous years) you should also have your booking pace from reservation. This shows you historically when your attendees booked their rooms. This information is valuable so that you know when and if you should release any unsold rooms at your cutoff date. For example, if your block is 100 rooms and you have filled the 100 in the past, you need to know that by 90 days out you have historically had 30 of them reserved, at 60 days out you have historically had 40 of them reserved and then at 30 days out, you have historically had 90 of them filled. This shows that your guests are last minute bookers. If however, they always book as soon as registration opens and so at 90 days out you have 75 rooms booked this is good information to have.
ADR – Average Daily Rate – the revenue manager or yield manager at the hotel will use this figure, along with a bunch of other numbers, to determine what the group rates should be in order to make budget. For example, if the budget is to have an ADR of $200 and a group got a $99 rate then the leisure guests or other groups booking over those dates will have a rate much higher than the $99 in order to achieve the budged ADR of $200.
CSM – Conference (or convention) Services Manager – this is your best friend when planning your meeting. Once sales has a signed contract to secure the sleeping rooms and meeting space, the file will generally be turned over to the operations team and your point person is the CSM. This person will live and breathe your meeting with you.
War room – Also known as the office for the meeting on site staff.
Pre Con / Post Con – This is a meeting between the meeting planner and the hotel CSM along with key department staff. The pre con is your opportunity to address the hotel staff about any last minute changes, put faces to names, review who the VIPs are, the reason for the meeting. I encourage planners to have a pre con no matter the group size. You can do a mini pre con if it is a small group but don’t ever pass up the opportunity to get their team together to meet you before the program. The Post Con is the same people but after the program has ended. This is a key opportunity to discuss any issues that came up that need to be addressed. It is much harder to get resolution after you have left the hotel and gone back to the office. Review what worked and what did not work. Hotels are usually open to learning how they can improve.
BEO – Banquet Event Order – this is a document that you will sign for every event on site that involved catering or meeting room set up. Read it carefully before you sign. Check for additional charges you may not have budgeted for. Check the guarantees for attendance and times for set up. Check the menu items are correct. At the function, the banquet staff works off the BEO. If you tell them that you and your CSM discussed a change, it will not matter. Whatever is on the signed BEO is what they go by.
Resume – This is an internal document that outlines what your program needs as it relates to each department. This is what should be reviewed at the Pre Con.
Housekeeping Notes – These refer to last changes to your agenda on a daily basis. For example, when the morning general session is about to end, someone may go in front of the group to let them know that the pool party that night has been moved to ballroom #3 due to inclement weather. This is a housekeeping note.
Call Sheet – Your CSM should have a copy of this document if you have a big production. It is a line by line, minute by minute account of the event or session. For example 9:00 am – introduce CEO, 9:02 am – CEO welcomes group, 9:10 am key note speaker takes the stage, 10:00 am CEO thanks speaker and starts power point of year end numbers, 10:20 am CEO ends power point presentation…..you get the picture. The audio visual and production technicians will also have copies of this.
Tracks – Your breakout sessions may follow different learning paths or tracks. For example, you may have a technology track, a sales techniques track, a personal development track and a human resources track.
“X” wide sessions – replace X with a number and this tells you how many breakout sessions you have at any one time. Using the above example, you have four tracks. If each track offered one session at a time, you may have 4 wide sessions going on for your program.
DMC – Destination Management Company – this is a local vendor that can provide everything for your program from ground transportation and optional tours to photography and theme décor. They will sometimes subcontract the services but since they are local, they have the relationships with vendors in the area that you may not have. Some hotels have an in house or preferred DMC so ask your CSM for a recommendation if you need these services.
CVB – Convention and Visitors Bureau – These folks are great partners to have at any given destination. They never charge for their services and can direct you to all kinds of vendors in the destination, assist with the RFP process, assist with site inspection visits as well as marketing material to drive attendance to their destination. Generally speaking they are either funded by their members or by the government and their sole purpose is to bring business to the destination without bias as to which hotel is awarded the meeting.