March 2014 Issue • Volume 42 • Issue 3

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The Value of Booking within the ASA Hotel Block

Kareem D. Jenkins, ASA Meeting Services

The 109th ASA Annual Meeting will be held in San Francisco, CA, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and the Parc55 Wyndham hotels. The hotel facilities will host all ASA program sessions and activities. ASA registration and satellite offices, book exhibits, Employment Service, and the ASA Bookstore will all be located at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. All plenary sessions will also be located at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Blocks of sleeping rooms for ASA meeting attendees have been arranged at both hotels.

Union Square, San Francisco, California

Union Square, San Francisco, California

Why Stay within the ASA Room Block?

In order to secure a large block of quality hotel rooms at competitive prices in convenient locations, ASA has to make major commitments to the headquarter hotels. This is as true for San Francisco this summer as it will be for Chicago in 2015 and beyond. ASA is legally bound to fill these rooms. Not to do so has severe financial implications for ASA and affects its negotiations and ultimately each member’s costs for future conventions. ASA is not alone in this challenge; many associations holding major conventions and meetings face this challenge as attendees book outside the block using various Internet services for hotel guest room booking. While such services might be useful for an individual, the [ASA] group as a whole suffers.

How Does Booking Outside the Block Affect an Individual ASA Annual Meeting Attendee? 

If the ASA is unable to achieve its room block commitments because attendees make reservations at other hotels or cancel/shorten their length of stay at the ASA hotels, the headquarters hotels will charge ASA attrition fees to make up for the lost sleeping room revenue. Depending on how small or large the gap is between the room commitment and the actual room pickup, such penalties range from $20,000 to more than $200,000. Should this happen, ASA could be forced to increase registration fees to cover these expenses and cut back on services provided at the Annual Meeting, such as the Welcoming, Honorary, and Student Receptions; free provision of audio-visual equipment (i.e., the LCD projectors and presentation computers available in all session rooms); complimentary wireless internet (WiFi) access in all ASA meeting rooms; and free meeting space for member-sponsored evening activities.

Cable Car, San Francisco, California

Cable Car, San Francisco, California

Reducing room block commitments in future contracts will be accompanied by a reduction in the meeting space made available to ASA, which translates to fewer rooms for formal program sessions and no room for sister associations/societies and member-sponsored evening meetings/sessions. This would significantly change the opportunity window for professional presentations and networking at the national level.

Besides, It’s Better in the Block

ASA staff have worked with the hotels to develop incentives (beyond the normative one of “doing it for the good of the Association”). We also want to make this choice as financially attractive as possible for all members attending the meeting. Staying “within the block” is also more convenient and helps you stay connected with the informal activities and networking opportunities that occur at the headquarter hotels during the meeting. Staying within the block has the following benefits for meeting attendees:

*Benefits and incentives for each of the ASA-designated hotel properties are further outlined on the ASA website (seewww.asanet.org/am2014/housing.cfm). 

You’ve Got Advocates when You Book in the Block 

If you have any problem or negative experience related to with housing, meeting sessions, travel throughout the city, restaurants, or any other accessibility-related issue, please report the issue to the Meeting Information & Housing desk, which will be located in Yosemite Hall on the second level of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.

Help Keep Overall Meeting Costs as Low as Possible for Future Annual Meetings

Reports on reservation bookings and contract status for the San Francisco meeting will be provided to the ASA Executive Office and Budget Committee and the ASA Council this summer. The success of the educational efforts and incentive offerings will be evaluated when fees are set for the 2015 Annual Meeting when the ASA return to Chicago.

ASA recognizes that its members have a number of options when securing hotel accommodations for the Annual Meeting. If you require a hotel in San Francisco, we would appreciate it if you would reserve your room through ASA’s official housing service, Connections Housing, at www.asanet.org/am2014/housing.cfm. It is an important way to support the Association and ultimately keep overall meeting costs as low as possible.

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