Thursday, September 16, 2010

Package Pricing vs. A la Carte Pricing

Written by Neil Pompan, CMP, Chairman & CEO of Pompan Hospitality Global and IACC-Global President.

Package pricing continues to be mysterious and threatening to may meeting planners. Resistance to package pricing stems from a number of common misperceptions such as that packages contain many things that the planner does not need, or that because of the all inclusiveness of packages, the price must be greater than if the components are purchased separately. Many planners also resist using conference centers because they feel a loss of control over the experience. This last point is ironic because conference centers pride themselves on creating a meeting environment totally dedicated to supporting the outcomes of a meeting.

But of all the reasons planners have for not using conference center, the number one reason is price perception. The fact of the matter is that if a planner were to total all of the elements of a complete meeting package using the a la carte pricing of a traditional hotel and then compare it on a per person basis to a competitive conference center in the same market, the conference center will be less expensive 99% of the time. This calculation is quite east and a free tool exists for planners to use assist them in the analysis. This tool can be found at

Most planners will argue that they do not need all the items in a complete meeting package. Perhaps they would not normally purchase three meals a day, or maybe they will bring their own LCD projector, etc. When a planner uses this tool, they can input only those things they would normally purchase at a hotel for their meeting. By inputting only those items, they can then compare the prices apples-to-apples and make an informed decision as to which venue. If the prices at the conference center are more per person then at the hotel under consideration then it is likely they are not including a great man of the all inclusive items.

In this situation one of two possible decisions can be made. First, the meeting under consideration may not be right for a conference center and should therefore be booked at a hotel. Second, the added value of a conference center may be worth a few extra dollars per person. The added value is all the elements that provide the best possible chance of successfully achieving the outcomes of the meeting. These elements include dedicated meeting space reserved on a 24 hour hold, ergonomic chairs and hard surfaced tables, tackable surfaces and meeting planner tool kits – all things that help promote a distraction free environment. Added value is also achieved thought the gift of time. At a conference center meeting planners do not have to spend time on menu selection and because they have a single point of contact, a single phone call or e-mail can handle all of their requests. This time can then be devoted to the important job of planning the content and taking care of the participants. Conference centers pride themselves on removing the drudgery of meeting planning and servicing the all inclusive product they promote and sell – a total meeting experience.

Pompan Hospitality Global, Inc. is a one-stop hospitality consulting firm that supports the business objectives of developers, owners, asset managers, independent and brand operators and meeting professionals around the world. Specializing in the Total Meeting Experience™, PHG, Inc. draws on the talents of a core group of hospitality and meetings industry leaders to serve the needs and demands of today’s global hospitality market. For additional information about Pompan Hospitality Global, visit the website at or call 610 252 8511.

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