Meetings & Conventions: Newsline
Web Sites Aim to Rein In Attrition
WILL NEW TECHNOLOGY BRING RELIEF WHEN ATTENDEES BOOK OUTSIDE THE
Mike Foster of ResQuest
Two new technology services are offering planners
innovative ways to track attendees who book outside the room block.
Dallas-based ResQuest Group (www.resquest.com) and Travel Technology Group (www.ttgonline.com)
in Chicago both offer event-specific Web pages where attendees
register and book hotel rooms. Both resources list block and
nonblock hotels, thus helping planners capture reservation
information for everyone who books through the sites.
TTG’s CompassDirect product does not capture people who search
for discounted rates at the host hotels; this option is offered to
planners by ResQuest.
The planner decides how many hotels to list and, in the case of
ResQuest, when to list discounted rates at host properties, said
Mike Foster, president and CEO of ResQuest. Clients may opt to use
the discount option after the reservation cutoff date, so attendees
who book late can find a good rate at the host hotel.
On both Web sites, attendees first see the block hotels. They
are shown other property choices only after being warned that, by
booking outside the block, they will forego amenities such as free
Hoteliers like Dave Scypinski, senior vice president of industry
relations for White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts,
hope such systems work.
“Currently, the hotel has to sit down with the customer and
cross-check the registration list with the hotel register,”
Scypinski said. “If there’s something that can automatically
capture this information, that will save a whole lot of
But will planners want to offer attendees an easy way to book
outside the block?
“The ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ philosophy might work in
some specific situations, such as for citywide meetings in a soft
economy,” said technology expert Corbin Ball, CMP, owner of Corbin
Ball Assoc. based in Bellingham, Wash.
Meanwhile, planners are likely to gain more accurate attendance
data, which will help in future negotiations with CVBs and
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