Meeting planners are dealing more effectively
with room block attrition since M&C’s last survey on the issue
in May 2003, at the height of the problem.
In 2003, asked if they’d been having trouble filling hotel room
blocks, 19 percent of respondents said “yes” for most meetings,
while 44 percent said “yes” for some meetings. This year, however,
only 5 percent said filling blocks was a problem for most meetings,
and 34 percent said it was an issue only for some meetings.
Part of that can be attributed to a moderate surge in
attendance. The number of participants has increased for 34 percent
of association planners polled and decreased for only 20
For the most part, however, the new survey reflects savvier
planning. About seven out of 10 respondents (69 percent) take some
action to prevent attendees from booking outside the block, whether
it be sending out e-mail blasts (43 percent) or checking online
hotel rates to ensure that the convention rate is the best
available (28 percent).
Furthermore, a whopping 94 percent take proactive measures to
ensure their organizations do not have to pay attrition penalties.
The most common tactics: 78 percent block more conservatively, and 62
percent track room pickup and adjust the block as needed.
Other ways to slay the attrition beast include using
association funds to subsidize the convention rate and adding a
contract clause that guarantees the convention rate is the lowest
These efforts are critical, as almost four out of five (79
percent) of respondents say attrition clauses increasingly are
becoming difficult to understand and fulfill.