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Re: SEAOC 2000 Convention

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Constantine Shuhaibar wrote:

>>Frankly,

If I had to pay this, there is no way I would be able to go! My bill will run
close to $2,200.

However, I was one of the convention chairs this year and found out firsthand
that it is expensive putting this kind of thing together. I tried to get as
many Young Member scholarships, but the convention is an expensive
proposition!

Holding the convention in the Wine Country and lowering the fee to say $200
may have attracted a lot more people and generated a lot more revenue.
However, the price hotels chrage will not drop and it is per person. So if you
drop the fee you will lose money.

If anyone has an idea on how to put together a convention for around $200 in
fee, I would like to hear about it. Not that it is any comfort but other
associations charge many times that price.<<

Constantine,

As the Secretary of my old ship's reunion association, I also have the 
problem of finding locations and rates so that attending a reunion will not 
be a financial burden to former crew members, most of whom now are over 60 
years old.  (The ship was in commission from March, 1945 to July, 1962, and 
briefly out of commission from July, 1959 to November 1961.)

I had heard of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, but never really knew what 
they did, so I called the Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau and asked 
them that question, "What do you do?"  They provided me with a wealth of 
information even though I told them that Tucson was not being considered for 
a reunion location.

Putting together the info that I got from the Tucson CVB, and my experience 
as an engineer, I put together an RFP listing what we need, anticipated 
attendance, what we want without cost, etc., and send it to the CVB in the 
area where we are planning to have a reunion.  The CVB will fax the RFP to 
their members and standby for the information to come in.  Most hotels will 
waive meeting room charges provided a certain occupancy is achieved.  The 
expensive charges are for audio-visual equipment --- we had one hotel that 
wanted to charge us $15 a day for a projection screen.  (We said, "No, 
Thanks!  We'll use the wall.")  Each year the RFP changes slightly as I learn 
more and more.

Just about everything is open for negotiation, from complimentary rooms to 
waiver of fees, to hosted welcoming cocktail parties.  If the hotel is 
charging $100 per night per person for a room, and you have 200 people 
attending, that is $20,000 a day income for the hotel, nothing to sneeze at.  
Multiply that by the average length of stay ... .  (We have been getting most 
of our rooms at the same rate for single or double occupancy, and one hotel 
had the rate for up to quadruple occupancy.)

So, my suggestion is to work thru the CVB --- that is their job ---- to bring 
visitors and conventions to the area.  They have more contacts and 
information than any individual planner can get in planning an event.  They 
will even "help" to bring an out-of-town planner to town to inspect and 
visit the hotels.  Work up an RFP based on what you want, what information 
you need from the hotel.

Hope this helps.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

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