Negotiated Rates Not Always a Deal, Study Finds

negotiated rates, meetings
Sometimes, group rates are not all they’re cracked up to be.

New research by EventMB found that at times, there’s not much difference between negotiated rates and what you can find online.

A room block pricing analysis of 400 venues across the globe (with an emphasis on North America)—part of a larger report by EventMB entitled The Rise of the Smart Venues—found that negotiated rates are not always a better deal than online hotel rates.

In fact, the research, which analyzed 50 events’ “preferred” or “exclusive” attendee rates and then searched hotel booking websites for the same properties on the same dates, found that on average, the same room at the same hotel on the same days was 1.17 percent cheaper on booking websites. The researchers found similar rooms with the same level of amenities within a short distance from the event that were 25.39 percent cheaper than the advertised or preferred rate. 10 percent of the preferred rates ended up being more than 50 percent more expensive than publicly available options for similar hotel accommodations.

That does not take into account Airbnb options being used by attendees booking outside the block, which can be 35.52 percent less expensive and often offer more amenities.

“Planners expect room block rates to be competitive if not favorable,” the survey concluded. “Sadly, that’s not consistently the case.”

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.