Executive Group Travel Blog

Top 4 things to request in a hotel room block contract

Here are the top four things I always look for before moving forward with a room block for corporate groups.

1. Cumulative attrition: Ideally 20% of estimated room revenue, if not picked up you pay the difference. Most fair for both companies and hotels is the 20% is up until cutoff date (30 days before). Then if you have not used all 20% attrition, you can cancel up to 3% until check in day for emergencies. Or specify exact number of rooms based on total room block.

2. Force Majeure:   This one has been the most interesting coming out of COVID cancellations. I still haven’t seen a perfect compromise between clients and hotels. I don’t think it’s necessary for corporations to have force majeure that only results in refunds but instead I am open to shifting patterns for future travel up to 18 months. Obviously if the hotel is closed, like what happened in many situations during the past 2 years, then a refund should be offered. But if there is a CDC level 3 or 4 warning against travel or airport closedown due to weather, the hotels should offer an option to push dates for a future event due to partial force majeure. In negotiating this clause remember the more options you provide in terms of rebooking the more likely the hotel will accept your revisions to their force majeure or impossibility clause. Unfortunately now that COVID is here to stay we are seeing many of these clauses now exclude COVID since we know it exists and is present when contracts are being signed. It’s important to figure out how as a company you want to manage risk and make decisions off those risk levels. Keep in mind the CDC just recently updated how they are managing published risk levels so we are less likely to see Level 4 warnings and more likely to see Level 3 warnings in the future.

3. Rebooking clause:  50% of funds to be used for new event up to 18 months after original event date. If you cancel up to 45 days before event and pay full cancellation, you can use 50% for a new program or equal or larger size within 18 months.

4. Cancellation clause:  100% of cancellation is a crazy concept when including F&B minimums in the cancellation. I understand hotels are losing on an opportunity cost of group cancellations but they can resell all estimated bars costs (inventory). Hotels are still receiving 100% of estimated revenue and can still resell those rooms to leisure travel. Our push is up to 30 days before 80% of estimated rooms revenue and 40% of F&B minimum. 30 days until the event it should be 90% of estimated rooms revenue (not including the resort fee) and 50% of food and beverage minimum.

How do travel agents get paid?


This is a quick blog post on some differences between how travel agents, corporate and/or leisure agents make money.

The New Events "Norm"

After an 18 month sabbatical it’s amazing to be back in the events game. 

Our first events happened to be back to back events in Austin, Texas with companies headquartered in Sacramento, CA and Boston, MA. The employees were ready to travel and the companies were ready to implement safety precautions to help protect everyone attending.  These events were followed by two domestic and four international Club trips where all of the group events were focused on outdoor venues.  We are finding cancellations are happening less, clients are traveling more, and attritions are high within the group block.  

After eight successful corporate events over the last two months I wanted to share a few lessons learned.

 

When is the right time for a partner or reseller trip?


It’s year 5 of your annual President’s Club and it’s been nothing but a positive experience. Sales numbers have significantly increased in the 4th quarter since instituting the program and the percentage of employees hitting 15% higher quotas has doubled. Each year while on the trip you realize how successful the trip is in bringing together your employees and building excitement for the year ahead.

While this year in particular has been far from normal, you know that the incentive trips have worked well for your company in the past and hope to continue (and grow) these programs in the near future. 

We've decided to invest in an incentive trip. Now what?


You’ve decided it’s time to host your company's first incentive trip. Revenue is growing, headcount is increasing each month, your brand is getting stronger, and your product is getting better.

5 Rules to Perfect Your Next Incentive Trip


Each year, thousands of companies host annual incentive trips to reward their employees for meeting or exceeding expectations. Companies will either organize these trips internally or use a third party to help with the planning, but at the end of the day there are a few important factors that apply to either scenario.


Incentive Travel: Domestic or International?


One common debate in incentive travel is whether or not your US-based company should host its next incentive trip domestically or internationally. There are certainly advantages to both, as outlined below, but it's good to consider your options, especially depending on the size of your trip and amount of lead time you have.  Given the current market of high demand and low inventory it is essential to give yourself more lead time than in the past.

Sales Kickoff & the Value of All-Inclusive Properties


Annual Sales Kickoff

Many tech companies host an annual sales kickoff every January or February to help recap the previous year, set goals for the upcoming year, and announce new product launches. These kickoffs have evolved from traditional Webex meetings delivering content, to live hands-on sales trainings and/or simulation tests. This shift in the way kickoffs are held comes with many added costs. A Webex/Zoom meeting is a low cost, non-branded solution that allows companies to share their updates and changes in a concise meeting format up to 3 hours. Anything over the battery life of a computer and you start losing attendees (to be honest, you lose the focus of most dial-in participants after 70 minutes).

While there are certainly benefits to these webinars or sales trainings,  the more popular solution today is getting employees together for a 3-4 day intensive kickoff event. An important part of these events is the positive effect on company culture. What better way to boost employee morale and get your team ready for the year ahead, than to put them together for 3 days in sales trainings during the day and social networking events at night. Most kickoffs only include 4-8 hours of content and the rest is focused on having a more hands-on experience.

So this all leads to meeting planners' most commonly asked question: where should we go next year? Unfortunately for most growing tech companies, this question comes a good 6-9 months before their 300-600 person event! The tech market is constantly changing with IPOs, funding, and acquisitions, so meeting planning timelines have continued to shrink while cash is watched more closely.

Why Incentive Travel is Important for Growing Tech Companies


First, what is Incentive Travel?

Incentive Travel is a vacation paid for by employers, awarded to qualifying employees or salespeople to reward them for success in reaching certain goals. These trips are an additional bonus used to motivate employees and help the company reach organizational targets.


Relaxation vs Sponsored Group Events


How to create the perfect balance

Incentive trips are supposed to be a reward to your employees for a job well done. With that in mind, how do you balance required events with time for rest and relaxation? The question comes up repeatedly in discussions with our customers, and in general throughout the industry.