…and there was no room in the inn…maybe…

So if you haven’t yet booked your hotel room for Extravaganza 2012, you might have a little bit of trouble.  First, you have to

The Sheraton

understand that rooming list at a convention hotel in a city like New Orleans is a bit of a moving target.

A quick background:  When we book an Extravaganza, a part of our contract is guaranteeing a certain number of “room nights” for our group.  1 room for 1 night = 1 room night.  If you then actually hit your numbers, you are golden.  If you don’t hit the numbers, you can be charged a penalty.  It could be up to $25,000.

We book hotels for these events 3-4 years in advance.  (In the spring, I’ll begin negotiating for the 2016 event.)  We always try to be conservative in our contracts, to keep our risk low.

Last year we contracted for 760 room nights and we actually had around 1100.  This year we knew we’d be up because our numbers are always up during a Gathering year.  So we took a deep breath, some anti-anxiety medication, and signed a contract for 1270 rooms.  They guarantee that rate up until a cut off date…this year, that was January 11.

As of right now, we have 1770 rooms booked.  That is great news.  It’s the highest number we’ve ever hit.

There is also a tough side to that.  The hotel is actually only obligated to sell us the 1270 rooms we booked at our rate.  If you’re room #1271, you could pay regular room rates, not our discounted rate.  Now, hotels don’t generally do that…they generally let all of our group have our rate.

But New Orleans is a very popular city in which to stay.  Conventions and tourists are common and room rates are generally higher.  So in the last few days, some people have called and been told that they couldn’t get  our rate…but they could have a room for $369 per night.

But then we call the hotel and they’ve been opening more spaces at our rate.  Since we are after the deadline, there is no guarantee that they will give more rooms at our rate.  But we have had good experiences with the Sheraton so far, and we think we’ll be ok.  If you continue to run into problems, please shoot us an e-mail and we’ll see what we can do.

We’re looking forward to seeing all 600+ of you in just a few weeks!  We’re going to have a fantastic event together!



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