The Regency, Room Blocks, and Reservations

or…Hotel Reservations 101

When I selected the Regency Hotel for INANE 2014, I had to contract for a specific number of sleeping rooms that would be booked from August 3rd to 6th. This is standard for conference planning–it’s how the hotel makes money after all! But it is a balancing act to “guess-timate” the number of rooms. If I contract for too many and then we don’t fill them, I am stuck with paying the bill for the unused rooms. On the other hand, if I don’t contract enough, when someone calls to make a reservation, they may be told that the hotel is “sold out.” Technically, the hotel is not sold out, but our room block is. Certainly I want everyone to be able to stay at the hotel and enjoy the conference room rate for the duration of their stay.

Fortunately, it is not all a big gamble. The Regency is willing to provide some flexibility around the number of rooms in a block, especially when people are making reservations well in advance of the conference. For example, if our contracted estimate turns out to be too low for one of the nights, I can contact the sales staff to add extra rooms. But this flexibility is limited and we’ll get to a point when this is no longer possible. Just as we can sell out our block of rooms, if the hotel is holding a block for us, they have turn down reservations from other potential customers–because those rooms are reserved for us. When summer tourism season gets closer, Regency staff will be less willing to hold rooms and potentially lose  customers. That’s why it is important to have reservations for our attendees confirmed early, before we bump up against summer planning. See what I mean about a balancing act?

I have modified our room block three times–the most recent was today. Reservations for Wednesday, August 6th have been running well ahead of my estimate. We originally booked 5 rooms, then 10. Now it’s up to 40. For the other nights:

  • Sunday Aug 3rd: originally 20; now 35
  • Monday Aug 4th: originally 70; now 95 (“run of the house”–we are hoping to fill the entire hotel)
  • Tuesday Aug 5th: originally 70; now 95
  • Wednesday Aug 6th: originally 5, then 10; now 40

What does this mean for attendees (and why I am going into such excruciating detail)? For purposes of planning and budgeting, it is very helpful to know if we are on target with our room reservations. I also don’t want anyone to be disappointed with their reservation by not being able to book the nights they want at the conference rate.

The good news is, you can make reservations without worrying about a financial penalty if you need to cancel or your plans change. They will ask you for a credit card to guarantee your reservation, but nothing will be charged until you actually set foot in the hotel. You will not be charged for one (or two) nights at the time of your reservation, as is often the case with booking agencies or using services such as Expedia. The cancellation policy is to call and notify them 48 hours prior to your arrival. You can also modify your reservation without penalty. So if you think you might stay three nights, make that reservation. Then if it ends up being two, you can easily cancel one night–as along as you do it more than 48 hours in advance. It helps me enormously in handling the “on-the-ground” details of rooms blocks and so on if you reserve early.

It’s easy to make a reservation: just call the hotel at 1-800-727-3436 or 207-774-4200. The staff at the hotel prefers if you call so you can discuss room types and availability. If calling is impossible (due to time zones or whatever) you can email the reservations manager, Shari Cole at scole@theregency.com. 

And–if you have any problems at all please let me know immediately! Use the contact form to send me a message and I will respond as quickly as possible. I became aware of the need for the room block on Aug 6th to be increased because Elaine Miller ran into a spot of trouble but all is well now. I can work to fix things quickly but only if I know there is a problem!

Even if you are not ready to register for the conference, you can reserve your hotel room (many have done this). Like I said, booking early ensures that you will not be disappointed. I look forward to welcoming everyone to Maine next summer!

Leslie

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