Meetings

Lunchtime Links: Don’t Be Surprised By Hidden Hotel Fees

By / Aug 15, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Watch out for hidden hotel fees at your next industry event. Also: how different sectors can work together to solve problems.

Hidden hotel fees extend well beyond the minibar. Some hotels charge for WiFi and baggage holding. Here’s how event professionals can anticipate the extra costs and bargain these fees for their meetings.

That, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Handling hidden fees: Conventions are big business for hotels. The Global Business Travel Association says the convention and meetings industry accounts for $117 billion of the estimated overall $273 billion spent on annual business travel in the United States. But associations should take care to ensure their attendees aren’t forced to pay hidden fees. Many hotels insist that guests pay for ancillary services such as WiFi or for restocking the minibar; many have even started to charge early-departure fees. What can event organizers do to keep hotel costs in check? For one, plan ahead, suggests New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey. “Meetings are planned years in advance, and corporate event planners are negotiating future deals with hotels that have gained a lot more bargaining power as the hotel industry revives,” he writes. “That means corporate planners need better data to negotiate on things like group rates, WiFi and bandwidth capacity in rooms and meeting spaces, and other charges.” What does your association do to keep event costs down for attendees?

The power of partnership: New York City is famous for its rush-hour gridlock. It’s a problem Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows the city cannot solve on its own. That’s why the local government began reaching out to corporations, nonprofits, and private citizens for help. The result: Citi Bike, a network of satellite bicycle rental stations throughout the city that encourages commuters to ditch their cars for a healthier, less congesting alternative. Writing for the HBR Blog, Frank Weil, chair of the InterSector Project, an organization that promotes collaboration between government, business, and nonprofits, says these types of agreements could go a long way toward solving many of society’s most persistent problems:“I have been thinking about this subject for the past 10 years, and I have come to the conclusion that a better way to untangle intractable problems, like New York City’s traffic, is by enabling genuine collaboration in the intersection of the three basic sectors—that is to create an ‘intersector’—a notional space where individuals like Mayor Bloomberg can work with the government, business, and nonprofit sectors to make collaborative governance a reality again.”

Exercise your attention muscle: Daniel Goleman, co-director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations and author of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, suggests three areas where association executives and other leaders should focus their attention: their performance, the people they work with, and the systems within which their organizations operate. Citing recent neuroscience research, Goleman suggests that leaders treat focus and attention as a muscle that can weaken from lack of use. With so many forces at play, Goleman acknowledges that keeping your focus in pressure situations is easier said than done. “[W]e are inundated by a sea of distractions,” he writes on LinkedIn. “Attention has become a mental ability under siege. We need to get smarter about how to maintain our focus.”

What do you do to stay focused? Share your tips in the comments.

Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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