Hotels across the nation are struggling to cope during tough economic times. Some of their efforts to cut costs may have a big impact on your meetings and events. Be prepared to see some of the following changes the next time you book a hotel venue:
• Staff size will be smaller. This means you may not be working with the same familiar faces of the past. At a new venue, you may not have as many people on hand to help out.
• Hours are being reduced. On-site restaurants, spas, golf courses, etc., are closing earlier and opening later, if not cutting days from their schedules all together.
• Freebies are being eliminated. Complimentary lotion in the bathroom and free in-room coffee may no longer be an option. If hotels have not removed these perks completely, they are frequently now offering such items only on a per-request basis.
• Fees are going up. Those amenities that already had a charge, such as parking or wireless Internet access, are getting costlier.
By no means are these changes being made at every hotel. However, it's worthwhile to find out how the venues you're considering are weathering the recession during your sourcing process. Include a few RFP questions such as, "What changes have you made in light of the current economy?" or "Have you began or eliminated any programs that will affect my meeting and attendees?"
Don't start the booking process expecting to see the same offers and services from hotels as you have previously, even if it's a property with which you have worked in the past. Certainly most hotels will continue to be accommodating to your business, but checking in ahead of time will avoid disappointments and surprises.