A key element to any successful event is ensuring your exhibitors and attendees have appropriate accommodations. And while that’s no easy feat, here’s a checklist to help you get started.
When researching the best hotels for your event, there’s much to consider, including location, hotel quality, nightly rates, and block size availability. And most importantly, what are the needs of the exhibitors and attendees?
- Start your planning by exploring hotels closest to the event location and work your way out from there.
- Partner with each hotel to secure your required room block and negotiate the best rate possible.
- Consider how transportation will flow to and from the event. Are you providing a shuttle service for attendees, or are hotels within walking distance?
- Do you intend to use a hotel for meetings? Will the number of people comfortably fit into the meeting space?
- What kind of gathering space is needed? Is there a cocktail reception area or a networking space? How about some quiet places for guests to attend to urgent business?
- Finally, does the ambiance of this location suit the needs of your event?
These are all questions to discuss with your hotel partner.
Getting the Best Price
Negotiating hotel rates is not for the meek. It can be stressful and time-consuming. Having strong hotel relationships and bulk buying power helps to negotiate better options and lock in affordable rates in your host city.
- Share the purpose of your event with your venue partner and accommodations team, as well as your expectations of success. You may also want to divulge what those metrics are so that your event partners are clear on what is expected of them. Be honest and include any concerns or challenges you have experienced previously or know might be an issue this time.
- This is the time to finalize policies around the event for attendees, exhibitors, staff, VIPs, and international guests, due to different restrictions and procedures.
- Clarify any non-negotiables up front, so there are no unpleasant surprises down the line.
- Most importantly, communicate, and over-communicate! If your team and the venue team are keeping each other updated, nothing falls through the cracks, and issues can be prevented in advance.
Filling Your Room Blocks
Now that you have your ideal location and your contracted hotels, it’s time to fill the room blocks with excited participants. This ultimately results in the best experience possible for your attendees.
- You may want to incentivize guests to book their rooms early by offering early access to the hotel block or by providing a lower price on registration when guests book rooms early.
- By having an accommodations partner, you have experts who have already vetted hotels and can leverage their strong relationships in your favor.
- Be sure to monitor the room blocks regularly to ensure that inventory is maintained at even the most popular hotels. You may need to adjust room blocks along the way so keep those hotel contact details close at hand!
Spreading the Good News
Get the word out! Communicate early, often, and strategically that housing is open. Don’t miss this important step. If your attendees don’t know about the room blocks and all that it offers, you have missed a crucial element to creating a successful event.
- Communicate early, often, and strategically that housing is open.
- Share the good news with your potential guests by actively marketing room blocks and exclusive offers available only to those who reserve through the block.
Recap Your Event
Whew! You made it! But before you move on to the next priority, look back one more time.
- When your event is over, look at what worked and what needs improvement.
- Revisit your findings with your team, so everyone is on the same page for the next event.
While there is much to do when planning accommodations for an event, with the right partner, it’s a breeze. You can combine cost savings with expert help, saving you unneeded headaches and giving you peace of mind that your attendees will have the best possible experience.
Did you know GES can help you with exhibition accommodation planning?
With onPeak, the leading provider of event industry accommodations, we are always standing by to assist you. We’ll handle the details, so you don’t have to, including hotel contracting, room block management, marketing, customer support, on-site rebooking, event recaps, and more. With over 35+ years of experience and strong hotel relationships, we offer simplified reservations, VIP experts, full group control, accelerated analytics, and optimal integration.