ATTRITION IS A DIRTY WORD
This week’s DEMAIL deals with some of the issues surrounding the DEMA Hotel Block, and specifically answers the question of why you need to book within the DEMA hotel block.
A Question of Trade Show Economics
Simply put, the bigger the trade show or convention, the more the city wants it and the greater the show’s negotiating strength. The size of a trade show or convention is measured by the number of hotel room nights used. Records from hotels in the “official hotel block” are the ones used to document size. When the number of room nights is high, the trade show has more negotiating strength with the host city, and consequently the convention facility, which in turn dictates the overall trade show cost to the attendee and exhibitor.
What Does DEMA Negotiate When Choosing a City?
The major items include all those things that concern most attendees and exhibitors:
Hotel availability and room rates
City and convention center availability
Dates (timing) of the event
DEMA must negotiate and book convention facilities 3 – 5 years in advance (at minimum) and the history of room night “pickup” (usage) from previous shows gets the best rates and arrangements possible. When attendees book outside of the DEMA hotel block, those historical numbers are not available to use in the negotiation. The result is that EVERYONE – attendees and exhibitors – suffers higher cost for the show.
Some exhibitors and attendees may find a room in a DEMA contracted hotel on the web for less than what is being offered through DEMA’s housing. This is rare, but it can happen. How?
One way is when an Internet company buys a block of hotel rooms well in advance of the DEMA show and sells them at a reduced rate. Theoretically the hotel should not do this during a major convention because it is detrimental to the hotel and the Show, but the reality is that it occasionally happens.
Another way this happens is when the hotel doesn’t fill all the rooms blocked by DEMA – usually as a result of exhibitors or attendees booking outside of the DEMA hotel block. If DEMA releases these reserved rooms back to the hotel under the established terms and dates of the hotel contract, the hotel is left with vacant rooms that must be filled. Even though DEMA has a contract with the hotel that insures DEMA attendees and exhibitors get the lowest available price, the hotel may attempt to sell vacant room directly to an Internet source at a lower price. DEMA monitors hotel pricing to prevent this unfair situation.
In both of these scenarios the number of room nights attributable to DEMA drops, and the negotiating strength of the show is greatly diminished. The result is higher costs for all future shows, and fewer available choices of timing and venue.
Back to Attrition
“Attrition” truly is a dirty word in the convention and hotel industries. Attrition occurs when the number of hotel room nights filled is fewer than the number of room nights originally booked. When rooms are booked outside of the DEMA hotel block the DEMA block doesn’t fill and the organization can incur “attrition costs.” These costs can be enormous – they are equivalent to making a reservation and forgetting to cancel it in a timely manner. The result is that the hotel has a vacant room, and the organization has to pay for it even though it is unoccupied. Only when there is a strong history of attendees and exhibitors booking inside the DEMA hotel block can DEMA negotiate away these attrition costs. Without that continuing track record there will be increased cost for everyone.
Funds from the DEMA Show support everything DEMA does - Industry promotions such as the Scuba Tour and the PowerUp Breakfast Seminars, monitoring and fighting potentially detrimental legislation, retail education, and more. Companies that truly support these efforts and programs book inside the DEMA hotel block.
This year, many exhibiting companies are becoming involved in helping the Association by booking rooms for their customers within the DEMA hotel block. DEMA encourages this because it helps us count the room nights, and also allows the exhibiting companies to make special arrangements and incentives for their customers.
DEMA itself is providing additional value for those booking directly with the Association. Book directly with the DEMA housing site and receive a $15 discount on show registration.
Booking with hotels inside the DEMA block – whether it is with DEMA directly or with an exhibitor – makes good sense for the Industry, the Show and the Attendee. For a list of DEMA block hotels and to book your room now, click here. (http://www.demashow.com/hotel.php3)
For more information on the upcoming DEMA Show 2004, go to www.demashow.com, click on the press room and then press releases. This week there is new information on the Industry Awards Party and the Adventure Travel Symposium. For a full schedule of the DEMA sponsored seminars go to Seminars and Events. To register for the show, click here. (https://dell3.compusystems.com/servlet/ar?evt_uid=796)