When it comes to lodging for an event, most people automatically assume their only option is a hotel, especially if there is a hotel room block available. If you want room service, a business center, gym, and all the other amenities that come with a hotel then that is the best way to go. However, if you’re looking for a more unique place to stay, if you want to save money, or if you want to experience a destination in an entirely new way, there are a range of alternatives outside the usual Ritz Carlton, Sheraton, Hilton, and the Marriott.
In the past, event organizers never worried about their attrition numbers for their sleeping room blocks as they were always met or even exceeded. However, alternative lodging sites such as the ever popular Airbnb are drawing attendees away from the traditional hotel room stay. Large conferences are showing a high number of attendees; however, their sleeping room blocks are not being filled like they used to.
While such sites have attracted leisure travels, a growing number of business travelers and conference attendees are becoming more attracted to staying in a room with more space, a kitchen or even the opportunity to live like a local. Additionally, the cost of an Airbnb stay can be much less.
In New York City, the average cost for a hotel room in the month of September is approximately $300 for a ‘decent’ room. Attendees can find a full apartment in the same month for half the cost per night through Airbnb.
There is no way to measure the exact effect this pioneering method of lodging is having on the event industry; however, there is concern among event organizers on how to accurately account for their sleeping room blocks. Organizers need to start considering how Airbnb and similar sites should fit into their future sleeping room plans.
Ironically, Airbnb was originally started in San Francisco when the owners opened their own homes for a conference where attendees could not find available local hotel rooms. However, Airbnb is now looking into a more structured plan to offer to companies and event organizers.
While Airbnb can be an economical way for attendees to attend events and it’s a great benefit for residents, there are some challenges to consider. Challenges such as coordinating a block through alternative lodging sites, and controlling inventory and price are just a few. Not to mention, Airbnb is still facing legal issues in many cities. In addition, while hotels have to follow certain safety and security guidelines for guests, other alternative lodging sites do not. Event organizers have no idea what their guests are walking in to; this is not a risk that event organizers want to take on.
It is going to be difficult for event organizers to track their sleeping room blocks until alternative lodging sites come on board with the idea of this new way of lodging for events. A simple way to track this is through a meeting code; however, alternative lodging sites are not set up for this yet. More important, there will need to be a system in place for event organizers to receive credit on rooms booked toward the block.
As the alternative lodging sites grow increasingly more popular, planners will need to rethink how they manage their sleeping room blocks. All we can do right now is wait and see how it turns out.
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About Forté Events:
Forté Events is a strategic event design and production firm specializing in corporate, non-profit, and social events worldwide. Based in Colorado Springs, CO, and New York City this company produce events worldwide from Fortune 500 clients to families and charities. Forté Events specializes in helping clients attain their goals, realize return on investment, and achieve the most unique, creative experiences.
About Annette Naif:
Since 1986 Annette Naif has been designing and producing custom events. Helping clients create their unique signature style that translates into a memorable experience has been Annette’s passion from the beginning. Annette spent a number of years producing events for Sebastian International followed by 15 years in the motion picture industry where she helped coordinate numerous productions for film and episodic television programs. Since then she’s been running her own event design company, coaching other event planners and now leads the New York City branch of Forté Events.