Can Any of These Ideas Solve the Hotel Room Block Conundrum?

Author: David McMillin       

room block

Attendees of PCMA’s EduCon 2019 check in to the JW Marriott Los Angeles LA Live. Business events leaders are studying how to make the attendee room-booking process better. (Curt Wagner)

We’re looking for you to contribute your perspective on some potential solutions that were developed to improve the attendee room-booking process — and potentially to add some ideas of your own. The survey can be completed in 5-7 minutes. Here’s some background.

When business events leaders reviewed the results of Phase 1 of the Room Block of the Future study, one takeaway was clear: There is plenty of room to make the room-booking process better. The research, which was commissioned by Hilton, NYC & Company, and the PCMA Foundation, revealed that less than half — only 48 percent of attendees — used event housing portals to make their reservations.

“The results of [Phase 1 of the study] reflect a shift in the industry that CVBs must adapt to,” Jerry Cito, executive vice president, convention development at NYC & Company, said when the findings were first released.

CVBs aren’t the only ones who have to make adjustments. As hoteliers, event organizers, and housing providers work to keep up with the changing landscape of online booking, the PCMA Foundation brought a variety of stakeholders together to discuss solutions to help improve the attendee booking process and create a winning scenario for all the stakeholders in the industry. Could the future include the absence of cut-off times? The industry is accustomed to setting a deadline to qualify for the lowest room rates, but those early dates do not do much for attendees who register for a convention or a trade show two weeks before it begins. What about setting technology standards for housing sites? If every reservation system included the ability to enter their loyalty number, points-hungry travelers might be more inclined to be part of the official block. Should the most talked-about alternative to hotels — Airbnb — be part of some room blocks to meet the needs of all attendees?

There are plenty of possible scenarios to consider, and this research study has paired insights from stakeholders with hard data on booking trends to make the attendee room-booking process more effective now and in the future. Which ideas are you in favor of? What potential solutions do you see that may not have been part of the conversation? Complete the survey to share your valuable perspective.

Download a copy of the 80-page Room Block of the Future study — Phase 1. The complete study, incorporating Phase 2 results, will be published in January 2020.

David McMillin is an associate editor at Convene.