How we select the Cities and Hotels for our conferences

As part of the conference and planning committee we have a subcommittee for site selection. Their job is to review cities and the surveys you fill out and select a location to have our conference.  I have keep track of the last 19 conferences with hotel room use, conference attendees and other information.  The committee reviews this and after many hours for review and debate they select a city.

I send out a request for proposal to all of the hotels in the city and the (CVS) visitors group.  We review all of the responses and our needs and select 4 hotels for a site survey.  Blaine Honeycutt and I go out and visit each hotel and walk through how the conference would work if we chose this hotel.  We usually spend 2 days to visit the 4 hotels.

We then negotiate with the hotels for prices, food and room guarantee.  We tell the hotel how many rooms we need each night and the number of nights.  With all hotels we have to meet our room night use and food guarantee.  So if we block 100 room for the night we have to use 90.  So if we only use 85 rooms – MAHC has to pay the hotel for the other 5 rooms plus taxes.  This is for each night. 

This is why we go over our usage for the past 19 years on room use at the hotels.  When I first got on the MAHC Board over 20 years ago we had to pay one hotel over $10,000 for not meeting the room use and food cost.  We try to work with the hotels if we have a higher turn out to increase the number of rooms. But it is up to the hotel if they want to do that and how many rooms they also have available. Usually they do increase it some but not that many because we have a reduce rate. 

On the peek nights this year we had 275 room for each night.  We requested an increased to 300 each night and the hotel approved it.   We have asked for more but they said they do not have any more to give us.    We checked this week with other hotels in the area and most where full or want over $400 per night. 

SO we started thinking in the cooperative way and came up with a plan to make a waiting list and contact other managers and members to contact me if there is any rooms that they have that somehow comes available and we will then have the people on the waiting list contact them and make arrangement to get the room.    

We are sorry for the problems and hope we can work together as a group to get everyone a room. 

Richard Berendson