Have you even been tasked with booking a space-only meeting? If you have, then I commend you on your efforts, if you haven’t then you are in for a lot of hair pulling! However, it doesn't have to be that way.
Many planners see booking space only meetings as one of the biggest struggles, but with a few insider tips you can make it easy to book the hotel and space that you want. Let's start with the POMS, Principles of Meeting Space.
Principle 1: Space is the number one asset
Hotels can’t sell their sleeping rooms to groups if they don’t have meeting space to match the availability. A hotel’s meeting rooms are more important than their sleeping rooms so keep that top of mind.
Principle 2: No credit where credit is due
The hotel's GSO (Global Sales Office) or property sales person doesn't get credit for your space-only program. This doesn't mean they won’t walk to the ends of the earth to help you place that roadshow, but it's good to know.
Principle 3: Timing is everything
When you book your space-only meeting has an enormous effect on whether you’re successful or not. You can in fact book a meeting further out if you know what questions to ask.
Now that you know the POMS, here are some tips to help you position your space-only meeting to hotels:
1. Know what 'Free Sell' means
This is a term used to describe a date when the catering department takes over the sale of the meeting space and can sell it without approval (or at least with fewer hurdles to jump through for approval). That could be 90 days, 120 days, or as close as 30 days.
2. You are what you eat
Instead of paying room rental, host a meal or two with some coffee breaks in between. Often, hotels will waive any rental in lieu of a good food and beverage package. Want to increase your chances of locking in that space? Add a bar.
3. Be flexible on dates
When talking to your hotel contact, give them a range of dates. You want to work hard to fit in where they need you. This will play a big role in the overall savings as well. Oh, and be open to a weekend.
4. Try to book as close to the meeting date as possible
As time dwindles down, hotels have a tougher and tougher time selling their space and rooms. This works in your favor, as hotels shift from conserving their space to an outright fire sale.
5. If you need to book further out, try to find days just before or after a holiday
If you don’t want to wait until just before to book your meeting space, try looking for dates around a holiday. Hotels will be looking to fill space just before or after the rush.
These are only a few of the best tips to ensure that you get that space-only meeting. To find even more head over to