Almost every year we select an “official” hotel for the event. For those coming in who don’t know the area it’s a way to avoid figuring out what is a good hotel in a convenient place and it’s a chance for speakers to hang out with other speakers outside of the event and related parties. I think (?) many events do this.
In all our years of doing this I don’t think we ever captured how many people actually used the hotel we picked. On one hand it doesn’t matter – it’s low effort and no cost to pick one and announce it (though I really wish PASS would put that information in a place obvious to all attendees AND make an email token for it!). On the other hand, if you book a lot of rooms that gives you some negotiating room if you need meeting space for a pre-con then or at some other time in the year.
This year I got a group code from the hotel and set a reminder to follow up. This gets you a “group rate” which may or may not be better than you can find via your favorite travel site. There’s no financial commitment at the lowest level, in our case 10 rooms. If you want a lot of rooms they will want a guarantee (but in return you might drive the room rate down some).
We announced it a couple of times along with other event information to the speakers. The grand total that used it? Two. Did more than that stay there and just didn’t use the code? Don’t know! It could have been lost in the messaging, but I think it’s more likely it’s just easier to use Expedia or whatever.
- Skip the code, just pick and announce the hotel
- Do separate and emphatic messages asking speakers/attendees to use our code when registering
- Do what we did this year, getting the code for the 10 rooms, and just see what happens. It’s a little more effort to call and get the code, but not a lot.
No rush for us to decide, we’ll revisit when planning starts next year, but I’m leaning towards option 1.