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Special Events – Reserving Hotel Room Blocks

August 21, 2017

When your department or school reserves a block of rooms at a hotel for a special event, conference, or meeting, the hotel will likely require an event agreement. This typically will include "attrition" terms. Below is information regarding attrition and suggestions for reducing or avoiding attrition fees.

What is Attrition?

  • Attrition is the minimum amount of revenue/room nights an organization – your department or school  is agreeing to be responsible for.
  • Attrition is a provision in a hotel contract that reduces the risk for the hotel to sell rooms to an organization and protects the organization by allowing them to reduce the room block by a designated percentage without penalty.

Typically hotels expect partners to be responsible for eighty or ninety percent of the total agreed upon room block. For example, if an organization reserves 50 rooms per night for two nights (100 total room nights), the organization is financially responsible for 80%, or 80 room nights. If the agreed-upon room rate is $150/night and only 70 room nights are fulfilled, the organization would pay the property $1,500.00 ($150 x 10 nights) for the unused rooms.

Suggestions for Minimizing Risk:

  • Prior to entering into an agreement, check historical information related to the group and past attendance.
  • Where was the event held previously?
  • How many local people are expected?
  • If there is enough advance time, send a "save the date" notice to gauge expected attendees' interest in the event.
  • Book rooms at only one hotel to reduce the likelihood of attendees looking for other options outside the reserved block.
  • Make it easy for attendees to make their reservations. Ask the hotel to provide a custom reservation booking link.
  • Check in periodically with hotel service/booking manager to see how well things are going in terms of bookings. If slowly, remind guests to book.

Ensure an authorized person from your department reviews and signs the hotel reservation agreement. Whether or not guests pay for their own rooms, don't forget – the event organizer who reserves the block is responsible.

Attrition questions? Contact Betsy Costello, Procurement Administrator, at 847.467.0590.

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