I agree that as meeting planners we have two major responsibilities:

1. To find the most reasonably priced guest room rates in town or to negotiate the lowest guest room rate possible; and

2. To make every effort to explain to the membership why it is appropriate, beneficial to the association, and cheaper for the member to book within the block.

If we fail to keep these responsibilities as our primary goals, we will soon find that the consequential cost of a convention or annual meeting will diminish the attendance and our inability to control reservations will reduce our ability to negotiate fair prices with hotels. Almost every hotel contract contains a guest room quota which must be met before meeting rooms and hospitality areas are grates or at a lower fee.

Personally, I do not favor markups in the guest room rates to cover convention expenses. This is unfair to members who are paying for rooms out of their own pockets. It also encourages thrifty members, company's executives, and chapters to seek accommodations elsewhere to avoid such costs. The appropriate place to recover convention costs is in the course and registration fees.

Jim Williams