By Stephanie Ritter
What is housing management? The process begins by traveling to an event’s potential location to site the area and hotel options within that city. This enables you to have as much information as possible to aid in your city and hotel decision. Next begins the contract negotiation process, where prices and concessions are negotiated to the group’s best interest, while arriving at a contract that mitigates as much liability as possible. A booking database needs to be set up that has all of the event’s hotel information and allows your attendees to review the available hotels and make their reservations online. The system should allow tracking of all rooms and blocks of rooms, whether they are made by a group or an individual to ensure your contractual obligations for each contracted hotel are met. The database should be set up so that groups can also track their room block progress through live reports in real time and make necessary changes.
If one were to locate a hotel or multiple hotels on their own for a group event, meeting or sporting event, sign the contract(s), take hotel reservations and changes, act as a hotel liaison and more, you can see how time consuming and complicated the process becomes. Does your organization have the staff, resources, time and knowledge to manage housing for each of your conference attendees? Does the coach of your child’s sports team have the time to manage those details? The answer to those questions is “maybe,” but is that where your time is best spent—managing details for something that’s not your expertise? We are able to handle any hotel and reservation needs in house for any event, while acting as a concierge service to make the process smooth and beneficial for all parties involved. Our job is to take the headache away from you.
In 1996, CMC & Associates was established primarily as a meeting planning company, but has since grown into much more. In 2011, we opened a division devoted entirely to housing management, where we are able to handle housing for any meeting or sporting event. Since CMC was built on meeting planning and conference management, our approach to customer service is based on satisfying your attendees’ needs, not just filling room blocks. Your attendees will be greeted with a friendly voice and accommodated in the most professional manner.
Our office divides housing management into two separate categories—conference and event housing and sports housing. Conference and event housing is mainly utilized by professionals seeking lodging that meets their individual needs while sports housing deals with athletes, coaches and parents, each group with their own unique needs and requirements. For example, coaches making reservations may want their teams in one location that has interior corridors for the athletes’ safety and microwaves and refrigerators for athlete snacks, while the parents may be looking for a more upscale location. In place of contacting potential hotels directly, trying to determine which one is the right fit; individuals may call our office and speak with a well-informed employee who is familiar with the contracted hotels and can walk the individual through the reservation process and answer questions regarding the event city. Due to the complexity of housing management, we have staff dedicated to housing full-time. This means that when you call our office, you can speak to the same staff members over and over. Our goal is to build a relationship with your organization and attendees, and make the experience as customized for your group as possible.
In most situations, when you contact a hotel with questions or changes to your reservation, you will be transferred to a central reservation call center where you will speak with a person located outside of the hotel. This individual often does not have first-hand knowledge of the hotel, may not have visited the property, and is not acquainted with the restaurants and sites that surround the hotel. Some individuals try to book on their own which can be a stressful process and may not result in the best rate and amenities. Our office prevents your event’s attendees from being forced to research the area and multiple hotels where an event takes place and will inform them of the hotels and surrounding sites that are available in the city.
Many hotels will only sign a contract with a group that contains an attrition clause, which means that if you did not fill the amount of room nights you contracted for, you would owe the hotel the difference between the number of room nights you contracted for and the number you utilized. We strive to ensure attrition is eliminated or at a level that is achievable for our client.
The process of housing management can be overwhelming and tedious to take on yourself. Using a housing management company to handle allows you to concentrate on your event’s success. After many years of event planning and housing management, CMC & Associates has built strong industry relationships and years of experience ensure that your event will succeed and the outcome will be beneficial for both you and the participants.