Salt Lake Combats Attrition
The City's CVB Is a Catalyst for Innovative, Multipronged Approach
With the implementation in February of its Salt Lake
Solution, the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau
may have found an answer to the attrition problem. Whether it can
work for any other city remains to be seen.
For groups of at least 4,000, the bureau has pooled various
methods of improving attendee room pickup into one package. For
starters, room block size is figured based on past attendance
rates, discouraging overly optimistic forecasts. The CVB or an
approved housing service, such as Conferon, is handling room
reservations, so that bookings can be made with citywide management
of room inventory.
On the attendee side, a higher registration fee is being levied
for those who book outside the block, and e-mails are being sent to
association members, encouraging in-block attendance.
If these and other ploys fail to curb attrition, area hotels
have agreed to waive all charges for low room pickup.
“We’re putting in place the industry’s best practices,” said Mark
White, director of sales and marketing for the Salt Lake CVB. “Any
CVB in any city could do this.”
However, according to Dave Radcliffe, president of the
Phoenix-based Radcliffe Co. and leader of the McLean, Va.-based
Convention Industry Council’s Project Attrition Task Force, Salt
Lake City’s method of rooting out attrition may not work in other
cities, where a 4,000-attendee convention will not fill all
available downtown hotel rooms. “Every destination is different,”
he said. “Certain cities are more prone to having attendees search
for great deals, simply because there are more hotel rooms.”