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Q.
I'm looking for a hotel with exhibit space for our user conference. But it's difficult to determine which properties are within our price range without wading through the request-for-proposal process. Is there an easier way to gauge affordability?

A.
Indeed, it's often difficult to determine how much each venue will charge for your event until you're well into a request for proposal. But there's one question you can ask straight out of the gate to determine if you're barking up the wrong banquet room, so to speak. The question is: What is your targeted Revenue Per Occupied Group Room (RPOGR)?

Any venue worth your spend, no matter how low your budget may be, should know its target RPOGR. This figure is simply the amount of food-and-beverage (F&B) revenue the venue expects per hotel room in a group room block. Once you know each venue's RPOGR, simply compare it to your own. To determine your RPOGR, divide your F&B budget by the number of rooms in your room block. So if you have $20,000 for food and beverage, and you need 75 rooms, your RPOGR is $267.

If your RPOGR isn't at or above the venue's target figure, you should probably look elsewhere. That's because it's the golden figure around which a venue's bean counters negotiate. Generally speaking, venues will never accept a meeting contract that will bring in less than its target rate. You might be able to negotiate a better price on this or that, but hotels will make up those decreases in other areas so they can maintain their targeted per-room figure.

So cut to the chase early on. Ask each venue on your list for its RPOGR and compare it to your own. This one little question can save you countless hours of negotiation and ensure that you quickly hone in on the perfect venue for your event. E



— Michael Dominguez, senior vice president of corporate sales,
MGM Resorts International, Paradise, NV

Help Wanted
Send your tough questions about exhibiting to Linda Armstrong, larmstrong@exhibitormagazine.com.

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