Charities, non-profits and associations face unique challenges when booking hotels for meetings. As the Senior Sales Manager for the Lord Elgin Hotel, the question I get asked most by associations and non-profits organizations is how they can save money without compromising the success of their event. The answer is always the same; be flexible. The more a meeting planner knows about the busy and slow times for a hotel, the more they can tailor their event to fit into the slow periods. It‘«÷s all about supply and demand. By booking your conference into the slow periods, you will save enormous amounts of money.
So the next question is always ‘«£so when are the slow periods?‘«ō It‘«÷s not always what you think. For our hotel, the slowest period is the summer. As a downtown hotel, we rely primarily on business, government and association travel. Even though tourism travel goes up in the summer, it is not large enough to compensate for the drop in regular business-type travel. Organizations do less travel in the summer because their staff is on vacation. So, if you can plan your meeting July or August, we can offer you a lower rate.
But many organizations feel they can‘«÷t meet in summer for the same reason. So what‘«÷s next? If you can‘«÷t meet in summer, try to meet during the ‘«£shoulder months.‘«ō These are the months that aren‘«÷t as busy as the prime months but not as slow as the summer. Generally, the busiest months are May, June, September, October and November. That means January, February March, April, and December are slower. However, February can still be quite busy with Winterlude so which days you plan to stay are critical. Finally, at any time of the year, a city-wide conference can fill the downtown core for a short time and drive the rates through the roof. Just think about the NHL All-Star game scheduled for January 27/28-2012.
So just remember that off-season is best to save money with an understanding that at any time, a hotel might be sold out for special event. Be flexible with your dates. Ask your sales manager if there is any need periods that come with a discount. They will gladly share that information with you and you both will come out a winner.
Next blog will be about which days of the week can save you money as well.
Senior Sales Manager