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Keycon 2015 - We Need a Chicago Hotel Plan

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Hotel space is likely the most expensive option


--- Quote from: i3oilermaker on Thu, 29 January 2015, 09:08:30 ---Hotel space is likely the most expensive option

--- End quote ---

Yea, I know, but we geeks have the cash to spend on all these keyboard goods, I figure we could open up the wallet for a little convention fee.  But that would reduce the accessibility of the event, so I can understand why it is not the ideal option.

So I'm glad I checked out the forum.  I've grown up in the hotel industry.

That being said, I don't have any connections to Chicago, but some very powerful tips from knowing how it works on the inside.

First thing, you will need to narrow down to hotels that have a conference space that is sufficient and available on the day(s) of Keycon 2015.

Next, you need to contact the properties that have this space and talk to their general manager, NOT the sales manager.  GM is the one who calls the shots.

You need to let them know about how many people will be in attendance for the conference room and get a quote for that.  See what addons they can provide and whatnot.  Ask if they have rooms available during that time.  DO NOT ask how much or reply with how many rooms you will need.  Just say, 'we will let you know' and thank them for their time.

Since keeping costs down is a big part of the equation here, the right conference cost/room availability will win out--especially if the GM is like 'oh we have plenty of rooms' or 'wide open'.  That means we are a big group and mean something.  Anything like 'we're getting pretty full' or 'there's two other groups that weekend' may either be bs to raise the price or real, meaning that we may not get full priority.

Once the venue is set with the GM at the property of our choice, here comes the big power play.  The rates you find on, priceline, orbitz, etc. typically pay the hotel less than 80% of their lowest advertised rate.  It's true.  So if you're paying $60, rack rate is $75, the hotel is getting a paltry $45, which will usually be just enough to cover the expenses, royalty fees, and give them a few bucks for the trouble--not enough to make a real profit.  This is strong motivation to give a $50-55 rate for a special group.

So you call back the GM after heavily researching the rates for the rooms at the place online via the priceline et al sites.  You also research the brand web site to see how low they advertise their rate.  This should let you know how low this should go.  Then you talk to the GM about rooms--'We don't know how many rooms we'll need, and I know a lot of us will just go and book online which just makes less for your bottom line due to all the reservation fees.  So why not give us a special rate, that we will book directly with you, that keeps you in the green and gives us a deal we won't find elsewhere.'  This should lead to a very nice rate that anyone can get without committing to a whole block of rooms.  Worst case, the GM should be able to match the lowest rates on the priceline et al sites, but going $5 below those rates still puts more in their pocket than those sites, so play hardball.

I'm in Milwaukee, so Chicago is close by, but I'm terribly busy and depending on the date for Keycon, I may not even be able to attend.  I hope that I've been able to at least lend a hand via some advice.

Just FYI, the location/hotel has been chosen:

Thanks for the tips, very insightful! I wonder how many people are 100% committed and need a room. I've found that attendance at meetups can be a little flaky.

Wheel and deal, baby!


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