Though not all hotels pursue the government market segment, the US Travel Association released a robust study of the benefits of government meetings and events in its report, The Value of Government Meetings.
This report found that 74% of private-sector executives agreed that meetings and conferences where government employees were present added value to their firm through knowledge transfer. The same study found that more than 4 of every 10 executives reported that meetings and conferences where government employees were present allowed them access to knowledge not available elsewhere.
On the financial side, the association’s report noted that among the private-sector executives surveyed, 62% reported that spending on meetings and conferences where government employees were present had a positive return.
Those who pursue government groups will be familiar with the GSA’s recently announced 2016 per diem rates. For those who don’t, here’s how the government per diem works:
The GSA (General Services Administration) establishes per diem rates for the lower 48 Continental United States (CONUS). These rates are the maximum allowances that federal employees are reimbursed for expenses incurred while on official travel. The per diem rate for an area is composed of 3 allowances: lodging allowance, meals allowance, and incidental expense allowance. Most of CONUS is covered by the standard CONUS per diem rate of $140, $89 of which is allotted for lodging.
There are approximately 400 Non-Standard Areas (NSAs) that have per diem rates higher than the standard CONUS rate. Since fiscal year 2005, NSA rates have been based on Average Daily Rate (ADR) data from the lodging industry itself, which the government gets through a contract with a lodging data provider.
Government groups and Federal meetings can fill need periods nicely, especially if you find them by filtering for the most desirable groups using a tool like Knowland’s Insight. For example, the Knowland database provides information on events like the United States Department of Energy’s 2015 Physical Behaviors of Materials PI Meeting held in the Washington, DC metro area. Held March 30 through April 1, this conference was very close to Easter holiday on April 5, a time that is often hard for hotels to book events. This is an example of group business that could fill a holiday or near-holiday need period.
Knowland found several of these smaller state conferences near and around holidays. With government groups like this helping hotels bolster bookings at critical times of the year, why not use the tools that will help you zero in on the ones that are right for you?
Pro Tip: Find government groups that historically fill need periods similar to yours. In Insight, navigate to the advanced search. Select the Government market segment box and check any subsets you desire. You can use additional filters to find multi-day government meetings as well as meetings held only at specific times of year to tailor the results to your needs.
Don’t have a Knowland subscription, but curious to see how Insight could work for your hotel? Contact the Knowland team.