March/April • Volume 43 • Issue 3

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The Value of Booking Within the ASA Hotel Block

Kareem D. Jenkins, ASA Meeting Services

The 110th ASA Annual Meeting will be held in Chicago, IL, at the Hilton Chicago and the Palmer House Hilton hotels. The hotel facilities will host all ASA program sessions ASA registration and satellite offices, book exhibits, Employment Service, and the ASA Bookstore will all be located at the Hilton Chicago. All plenary sessions will also be located at the Hilton Chicago. Blocks of sleeping rooms for ASA meeting attendees have been arranged at both hotels.

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 financial commitments to the headquarters hotels. This is as true for Chicago this summer as it will be for Seattle in 2016 and beyond. ASA is legally bound to fill these rooms. Not to do so has serious 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 meetings face this challenge when attendees book outside the block using various Internet services for hotel guest room bookings. While such services might be useful for an individual, the (ASA members) 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, etc.

Reducing room block commitments in future contracts would 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 opportunities for professional presentations and networking at the national level.

Besides, It’s Better For You in the Block

ASA staff have worked with the hotels to develop individual incentives (beyond the “doing it for the good of the Association”). We want to make this choice as financially attractive 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 (see www.asanet.org/AM2015/housing-2.cfm). 

You’ve Got Advocates When You Book in the Block 

If you have any problem or negative experience related to 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 the Stevens Salon Foyer on the lower level of the Hilton Chicago.

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

Reports on reservation bookings for the Chicago meeting will be provided to the ASA Executive Office and Budget Committee and the ASA Council this summer. Our success in Chicago will be evaluated when registration fees are set for the 2016 Annual Meeting in Seattle.

ASA recognizes that its members have a number of options when securing hotel accommodations for the Annual Meeting. If you require a hotel in Chicago, we would appreciate it if you would reserve your room through ASA’s official housing service, Connections Housing, at www.asanet.org/AM2015/housing-2.cfm. It is an important way to enjoy the meetings and support the Association in keeping overall meeting costs as low as possible.

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