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By: Desmond Lomas, CMP

Desmond Lomas - Top 5 Reasons to Increase the Lead-Time in Booking Your Annual Meetings

Why would I want to book my meeting for 2024 now? What’s the rush? While there may be some very good reasons to wait before committing to booking your conference at a particular venue, if your event attendance has been stable or trending upwards and you are required to have a meeting every year you might save yourself some anxiety by securing space several years in advance. It would be completely understandable to wait as long as possible if you are doing a major re-think of your conference, your leadership is changing, or your board has a habit of changing its mind on things. However, if you don’t fit into this category get it booked now!

Here are the top 5 reasons why:

  1. Better choice of venues: This especially holds true if you have a large event. There are many other organizations that will likely need the same space as you at the same time as you. You want to book it before they do!
  2. You give your local organizing committees ample time to get ramped up and motivated:  Perhaps your association has chapters and members in the destination of your conference that you rely upon to assist you in planning your conferences. Giving them ample time to plan and think about things should enhance the quality of what they bring to the table. Keep in mind your volunteers likely have full-time jobs in addition to assisting with the conference.
  3. You get more time to market your event: If you are booking your annual meeting several years in advance, you have the opportunity to remind your attendees of future conferences and destinations year after year which should build more interest.
  4. You have a lot of time to react if there is a problem with a venue: For example, if you hear that the quality of the venue has taken a turn for the worse, that there has been a significant fire or flood damage to a venue, having more lead time gives you a chance to assess if the venue will continue to be suitable for your group. Perhaps other options can be explored. Needless to say, unfortunate things can happen to a venue even days before your conference.
  5. Potential for more savings because you become the “base” business for a hotel: Hotels’ management often play a relatively conservative yield management game which starts off with a first layer of group and meeting business with lower rates in advance with higher rated short lead business later. Getting your organization in as the base farther in advance allows hotel management to have the confidence to sell at much higher rates closer to the arrival date. Obviously, you want to be the base.
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