2015 will mark the hotel industry’s best year ever in terms of occupancy. We are in a seller’s market that is projected to last through 2020. A recent article in Successful Meetings by Tim Brown is one that hits the mark, telling how hotels are finding ways to expand profits through a host of added fees – beyond the main profit centers of Sleeping Room and Food & Beverage revenue. As Brown suggests, groups need to customize hotel contracts to keep rates and expenses in check. Military reunions are ‘special needs’ groups. Band together with AFR and your group’s special needs will be more than met.
In today’s seller’s market groups large and small need professional help to negotiate the best possible deal. It’s now easy for small groups that take advantage of the pre-negotiated BMR Hotel Contract, but negotiating with major hotel chains can be tricky for larger groups. Armed Forces Reunions’ network of reunion-friendly hotels will help groups navigate the next five years of expanding hotel rates and fees.
In February’s newsletter I discussed dealing with Room Attrition. Let’s take a look at Food & Beverage. Be conservative with expected numbers at meal functions, as F&B Minimums (the dollar amount your group must spend) are based on these numbers. Never calculate cash bar sales into the Minimum – only the meals. The F&B Minimum is based on the meal’s base cost, before service charge and tax are added. Put a lower than expected number in the Function Agenda – as long as the space a hotel reserves is adequate to handle your hoped-for numbers. If you plan for a head table and color guard aisle, guesstimate how many people a meeting room can handle by multiplying the total square footage by .06. Also, always get meeting room names listed in the contract’s Function Agenda, to ensure you have the space to meet your needs. Don’t assume that the function space a hotel assigns is adequate to meet your needs. Sales Managers may book meeting rooms according to a hotel’s Capacity Chart estimates – which do not take into account head tables, aisles, AV equipment, stages, or dance floors. My best advice is to get a professional on your side to make sure your needs are met.
Ted Dey, Founder
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