I was talking with Bones about this Dashcon brouhaha, an a thought occurred to me.
What if the whole money issue with the hotel came down to room blocks? This is something no one (to my knowledge) has mentioned as a possibility.
Here’s the dealio: When an event planner/convention hotel liason goes to a hotel to talk about holding an event there, the discussion is going to involve more than just potential event dates. A big part of the discussion includes room blocks…meaning, how many hotel rooms will the event attendees be using. Often, if you have a big enough room block reserved, you get your event space and catering at a discount, depending on the venue and how good you are at negotiating that contract. Interestingly, even about.com says that this process is hard.
It’s a tricky topic. If you don’t reserve enough rooms, and you sell out of rooms, the hotel may not be able to give you more. If you reserve too many and you can’t fill those rooms, the hotel is out potential revenue.
This is an interesting article on the topic, and it points out that some stuff like due dates are not as flexible as they used to be.
The advantage to event attendees to stay at the event hotel is – obviously – convenience, as well as a discounted room price. One of the best things you as an attendee can do to support your con is to stay at its hotel, reserving your room under the con name (or whatever code the con tells you to use.) Most of us want the best deal possible, so it’s tempting to look for a cheaper room elsewhere…but it’s not good for the con.
If the convention/event has reserved too many rooms – and with Dashcon expecting thousands more attendees than it actually had, and with them offering an overflow hotel on their website, with a discounted room rate there as well as at their main hotel, this certainly seems to be the case – you need to have the foresight to release rooms before you are held financially accountable for them.
When are you held financially accountable? Depends on your contract. And hopefully you have some good insurance to cover your butts.
What I suspect happened at Dashcon is that they didn’t fill their room block at their main hotel – I hope they canceled the room block at the overflow hotel in a timely manner!! – and the hotel was holding them responsible for those unfilled rooms. Keeping in mind there were apparently two weddings also booked that weekend, the hotel was losing revenue on those rooms if they were indeed unfilled. Pushing for the amount due to be paid on Friday seems mean-spirited, but we don’t know what the contract stipulated as a deadline. It’s not uncommon, at all , for cons to run into trouble over room blocks, so Dashcon would be in good company if this is indeed the case.
An official statement has been promised “in a few days.” Until then, my bet is on the blocks…and my opinion is still that the staff should absolutely NOT have made this the financial problem of the attendees. But you already knew that. 🙂