Event Planners know that managing accommodation blocks across multiple hotels is one of the most time consuming aspects of delivering an international conference, only made more difficult by the different customs and processes in cities around the world. It is not only time consuming, it carries real financial risk as last minute booking changes and cancellations are commonplace which has only been compounded by the uncertainties of Covid-19.

In Australia, best practice is to use a local Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) to manage the accommodation block on your behalf. For most Australian PCOs, accommodation is an all-inclusive service that relieves clients of the risk, financial liability and the logistical load of researching and liaising with local accommodation providers, negotiating and coordinating multiple contracts, monitoring room blocks, managing attrition deadlines and more.

Accommodation teams secure room blocks and manage hotel contracts based on the demographics and historical data for each event. Thanks to existing relationships with a large network of hotel partners, a PCO is able to negotiate the best prices and special inclusions for delegates, providing a superior experience for visitors.

Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) Partner, PCO Arinex managed accommodation for the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) 2018 Conference in Melbourne. National Operations Manager Melissa Murphy said this was an important element of the event’s success.

“We had more than 2,800 international delegates set to meet in Melbourne for the conference, so a large-scale accommodation solution was required. The international host committee wanted to offer multiple hotel options for delegates but with limited knowledge of the city, they needed assistance,” she said.

“We were able to negotiate substantial room blocks with nine hotels to cater for all delegate preferences and budgets. Delegating accommodation management to a PCO means a very streamlined process; it allows us to address any issues quickly, as our accommodation team easily communicates with our conferencing team. Our solution saved the client a significant amount of time and stress, simply because we have the experience and the networks – it’s just what we do.”

Ms Murphy said that in a post-Covid world when borders reopen, accommodation management would become more and more valuable, adding: “Delegates, along with the rest of the world, are excited about travelling and meeting face-to-face. We forecast a strong demand for accommodation bookings.”

Organising an event in Australia presents many benefits and opportunities for delegates and planners, and having your accommodation managed by a PCO will enable you to focus on delivering a successful event. In Australia there is no hotel occupancy taxes to factor into your budget meaning you may have room to consider more luxurious accommodation options or providing memorable social events. There are a number of Australian PCOs with an in-house accommodation team that work with event organisers to manage accommodation for an event, alongside planning and logistical management.

Kristi Coombs, former Director of International Conference Event Solutions for the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), worked with Arinex to manage accommodation for the association’s 2017 congess.

“Arinex’ support with accommodations were reliable, responsive and provided us with guidance to ensure we minimised the risks involved with managing a large number of room blocks. Their dedicated team of professionals assisted with numerous delegates’ queries and changes, leaving us free to focus on the Congress,” she said.

“I recommend all international associations utilise the expertise that Arinex provides for global associations; as they can really benefit from the in-depth local knowledge, not only for the logistical purposes of event management, but also to ensure the hotels will deliver the overall experience that delegates expect when travelling abroad.”

Learn more about Arinex and how they can help you plan your next event in Melbourne here.