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NAVIGATING GUESTROOM ATTRITION: A GUIDE FOR EVENT PLANNERS
by Cheryl Barnet, Senior Director of Venue Sourcing, Housing & Event Tech

In the dynamic world of event planning and hospitality management, guestroom attrition is a pivotal factor that demands careful consideration, planning and meticulous attention. Attrition refers to the gap between the number of hotel rooms initially reserved for an event or group and the actual number of rooms utilized. This discrepancy often results from changes in attendance, last-minute cancellations, or unforeseen adjustments in the event schedule.

Understanding & Managing Guestroom Attrition
Successfully managing guestroom attrition involves a strategic approach that balances flexibility, precision, and fairness. Two primary methods for calculating attrition—cumulative and per night—offer distinct advantages depending on the nature of the event and the preferences of both parties involved.

Cumulative vs. Per Night Calculations

  • Cumulative Calculations: This method totals the number of room nights booked by the group over the duration of the event. It provides flexibility, allowing for fluctuations in the pattern of room usage and simplifying the math involved. It is particularly suitable for events with varying attendance or multi-day conferences.
  • Per Night Calculations: This approach assesses attrition on a nightly basis, which may be more suitable for shorter events or those with fewer attendees. While this method offers precision for shorter patterns, it may require more frequent monitoring and adjustments.

Room Nights vs. Room Revenue
Another crucial consideration is whether attrition calculations are based on room nights or room revenue.

  • Room Nights: Calculating attrition based on room nights simplifies the process, especially when all room rates are uniform.
  • Room Revenue: Basing attrition on room revenue offers greater flexibility, as attendees may opt for higher-priced accommodations to meet minimum requirements in case of shortfall.

Compensation Policy & Calculation Date
It’s essential to establish a clear compensation policy, such as 1/40, which dictates the ratio of complimentary rooms provided per actualized room nights. However, during attrition, it may be prudent to forego this policy to avoid further revenue loss.

The attrition calculation date is critical for accurately assessing attrition. Ideally, calculations should be made at the event’s conclusion to account for any last-minute reservations. Additionally, group sales agreements should specify when payment for attrition is due, preferably upon departure, to streamline financial transactions between the client and the hotel.

Inclusion of Pre & Post Event Stays
All rooms associated with a group, including pre and post-event stays, should be counted towards attrition. This ensures a comprehensive assessment and prevents discrepancies in room allocation.

Audit Clause for Individual Call-In Blocks
For individual call-in blocks, incorporating an audit clause is imperative. This clause safeguards against attendees booking rooms outside the designated block, ensuring that all relevant rooms are included in the attrition calculation.

Effectively managing guestroom attrition requires a strategic blend of flexibility, accuracy, and clear communication between event planners and hoteliers. By employing appropriate calculation methods, establishing clear compensation policies, and including specific contractual provisions, both parties can navigate guestroom attrition challenges effectively and ensure a successful event experience for all stakeholders involved.

SHW is a premier event planning and management agency renowned for its comprehensive venue and hotel sourcing services. Our expert team leverages an extensive network of contacts and industry insights to secure the best rates and concessions, providing clients with seamless sourcing solutions. Click here to learn more!