Meetings Group Connects Associations and Hotels

The Association Meeting Buyers Collective will take the hassle out of meeting planning by increasing association buying power and lowering costs for hotels.

The newly created Association Meeting Buyers Collective is taking extra middlemen, fees, and hurdles out of meeting planning for both associations and hotels.

It’s a very disruptive, unique way to buy that is bringing benefit to everyone involved.

AMBC, which represents associations, will facilitate direct contact between meeting planners and hotels to meet both parties’ needs by lowering costs and barriers.

“It’s a very disruptive, unique way to buy that is bringing benefit to everyone involved,” Executive Director Ed Simon said. “It’s solving the historic challenges of having association meetings being viewed as less desirable than their corporate counterparts because of some of the natural attributes of association meetings. It’s eliminating the largest single meeting risk that I think most associations will tell you they face in the form of attrition. And on the hotel side, it’s benefitting them with lower costs and higher success.”

For its association members, AMBC provides attrition insurance if not all guest rooms in a hotel block are booked as well as helps the group resell extra rooms. It will also increase association buying power by bundling proposals from two or more members looking to book the same location around the same time into one RFP for hotels to bid on.

“You’re turning a 50-room meeting into a 600-room meeting that’s proportional in space and has a great arrival-departure pattern,” Simon said. This structure is most effective for smaller associations with meetings of 10 to 300 rooms, as they can be more easily matched with other meetings.

For the hotels, AMBC reduces costs by eliminating third-party sources or other middlemen that charge commission fees, guaranteeing 86 percent of room blocks are booked, providing direct messaging to associations in case a hotel needs to fill extra space, and offering larger single-bid opportunities with the bundled RFP.

“We want to be inexpensive with the hotels as well as efficient, but then we also want to increase the buying power and get the other benefits to our association members,” Simon said.

While several associations have already become members of the Collective since it was formed in August, Simon said AMBC is in talks with 200 other potential member groups.

“AMBC is a truly innovative approach to meeting site sourcing. The Collective allows us to leverage the buying power of all members, without giving up direct engagement with our hotel partners,” said Steven T. King, president of founding member Pet Industry Distributors Association, in a press release: “And at a time when attrition penalties can erase the revenue from association events, AMBC’s attrition protection is an invaluable member benefit.”


Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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