Back-to-Business Meetings Incentives for Planners

May 18, 2020

As state and local government restrictions begin to lift in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, planners, hotels and CVBs are eager to get back to business in a way that is safe for both guests and employees.  

In order to ease the concerns that are lingering on many planners’ minds for what the future of live events might hold, some hotels and CVBs have offered meeting incentives for planners to help get meetings business back on the books. 

Check back here as we update this list of meetings and events concessions and packages as the industry ramps up to get back to business.

Visit Loudoun's Meetings Incentive Program

Planners interested in booking a program in Loudoun County, VA could be eligible for receiving a $3-$5 per room night rebate on actualized room nights. Eligibility for Visit Loudoun's Meetings Incentive Program is based upon:

  • Must be a new meeting or conference taking place from now until December 2021.
  • Groups must contract by December 1, 2020 to be eligible.
  • Eligibility is based upon meeting/conference RFPs sent to Visit Loudoun and a minimum of 100 actualized room nights in a Loudoun County hotel, resort or conference center.
  • Groups not eligible for the program include social (weddings, fraternal, social events, sporting events and group tours).
  • Incentive dollars are for new business only and does not apply to existing contracts.

Visit Loudoun reserves the right to end the incentive program at any time. 

Salamander Hotels & Resorts' Well-Meeting Program

Besides offering up some of its premier outdoor areas for social-distancing-friendly events accompanied by immunity-boosting cuisine, the five properties of Salamander Hotels and Resorts are offering the following incentives as part of its Well-Meeting program:

  • 50% guestroom attrition flexibility.*
  • 50% food and beverage attrition flexibility.* 
  • 100% re-booking credit for a future event within 12-months.*  
  • One complimentary room category upgrade per 10 rooms reserved. 
  • One complimentary suite upgrade per 20 rooms reserved. 
  • One complimentary room per 40 rooms reserved and consumed.  

*If request is made more than 60 -days prior to arrival. 

This offer is valid for new group bookings of 10 rooms or more on a peak night. Groups must book by December 31, 2020, and actualize by March 31, 2021, to qualify. Subject to availability.  

Jamaica: Think Tank in Paradise

After months of sheltering in place, small-team strategy meetings are needed now more than ever. Villa Serenity, a five-bedroom private retreat near Ochos Rios, Jamaica, is offering a “Think Thank in Paradise” corporate retreat special that offers the following inclusions:

  • Waived cancellation penalty up to 60 days prior to group arrival.
  • One complimentary signature cocktail on arrival.
  • Pay for only six nights when the group books seven nights.
  • Flexible and interest-free layaway plan that allows groups to hold the villa for $499.

The offer is valid through September 30, 2020, and the villa offers the following “low-touch luxury” features:

  • The number of guests transported in the villa’s private airport transfer will be reduced to ensure proper social distancing.
  • Doors and windows in public areas will remain open, ensuring maximum airflow.
  • Self-serve buffets will be replaced by table service.
  • UV sanitizing devices for sanitizing phones, keys, passports, credit cards, etc., will be placed in every room and will be available for purchase.
  • To aid in safe distancing, the bar lounge, gym and spa areas have been extended to facilitate safe distancing and an open-air patio has been added.

Asheville Properties Axe Attrition

Two hotels in Asheville, N.C., have cut attrition penalties and added other incentives to attract post-shutdown business.

The following deals are available at Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park and DoubleTree Asheville-Biltmore Village:

  • No attrition for any group of 10 or more guest rooms  through March 31, 2021.
  • One complimentary suite with at least 50 room booked at peak.
  • Triple Brand points for designated recipient based on brand loyalty program.
  • 20% discount on all banquet food and non-alcohol beverages.
  • 20% audiovisual discount on audiovisual pricing.

Springfield, Illinois, Floats Attrition and Cancellation Offers

Springfield, Illinois, is offering a number of concessions for meeting planners who book a new event in 2021 at any of six hotel properties in the destination.

The Legendary Meeting Incentives packages includes the following:

  • Relaxed attrition to 60%.
  • Waived cancellation penalty until 60 days prior to group arrival.
  • One complimentary room night per 30 occupied nights.
  • Complimentary meeting room rental with food and beverage minimum.
  • Opportunities for complimentary registration assistance, welcome booth setup and name badge services.

The package is offered at the following properties:

  • Crowne Plaza Springfield
  • Hilton Garden Inn Springfield, IL
  • Northfield Inn Suites
  • State House Inn, Trademark Collection by Wyndham
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield-a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
  • Wyndham Springfield City Centre

JW Nashville Offers Upgrades

The JW Marriott Nashville is offering an incentive that seeks to drive business in the last half of 2021 for meetings booked by the end of 2020.

Planners who book a meeting by December 31, 2020, to arrive between July 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021, will receive:

  • Complimentary reception including one-hour open bar and choice of up to three hors d’ oeuvres.
  • 5 complimentary upgrades to Executive Suites.
  • 40% Discount on Wi-Fi in meeting space.
  • 3x Marriott Bonvoy Meeting Planner Points.

To qualify, bookings must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum peak night arrival of 100 rooms.
  • Food and Beverage minimum of $50,000.
  • Block must have peak nights on Sunday or Thursday.
  • Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.
  • Offer excludes previously contracted group bookings.

Wigwam Floats Cancellation Credit and F&B Functions

The Wigwam Resort, located about 20 miles northwest of Phoenix, is offering a re-booking credit for cancellations and

Following are the details (restrictions apply):

Groups that contract by December 31, 2020, for arrivals between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, receive a one-time re-booking credit of 100% if canceled 90 days or more prior to arrival.

The resort is also offering the Maximize Your Meetings Package for meetings up to 50 people that offers rates starting at $90++ per person, which it says is a $150 value per person.

The meeting room package Includes:

  • Breakfast, lunch and two breaks.
  • Standard meeting Wi-Fi.

Accor Offers Attrition, Cancellation and F&B Promos

Accor launched two MICE incentives for its North American properties to spur bookings following the coronavirus shutdown.

The Meet With Us offer waives attrition for groups arriving in 2020 and provides flexible attrition policies for groups arriving in 2021. The offer also allows for flexible cancellation and doubles all meeting planner rewards.

According to Accor, the flexibility of the attrition and cancellation policies are determined by each participating hotel and based on variables that include seasonality, demand, group size and other factors.

Among other restrictions and blackout dates, the Meet With Us offer is only valid for new bookings at participating hotels in North America and must be mentioned at time of booking. The offer is not valid in conjunction with citywide bookings, previously quoted, booked or held meetings, or any other promotion or offer. Bookings must be made by December 31, 2020, must include a minimum of 10 rooms on peak night and event must be actualized by December 31, 2021.

The second promotion, the Meet With Us catering offer, allows meeting planners to select from a menu of options depending on their F&B spend.

The options are:

  • 20% off audiovisual
  • One complimentary signature cocktail during reception
  • One complimentary coffee break during and all-day meeting
  • 50% off meeting/event space rental
  • A complimentary one-night stay pre/post the event date

The spend levels and details are:

  • $5,000 F&B spend: select one option
  • $10,000 F&B spend: select two options
  • $15,000 F&B spend: select three options
  • $20,000 F&B spend: select four options

Among other restrictions, bookings must be made by September 30, 2020, and event must be actualized by December 30, 2020, and blackout dates apply.

North American Accor brands include Delano, Fairmont, SLS, SO, Sofitel, The House of Originals, MGallery, 21C, Mondrian, Pullman, Swissotel, Hyde, Hudson, The Redbury and Novotel.

Arlington, Texas, Offers No Attrition

Hotels in the Dallas Metroplex destination of Arlington are offering no attrition into 2021 as part of its No Attrition Into 2021 promotion to draw new meetings and conventions business.

Following are the details at participating properties:

Crowne Plaza Arlington*

  • No attrition on groups of 50 peak rooms or less* through 3/31/2021.
  • Triple Brand points for designated recipient based on brand loyalty program.
  • $5 rebate to master account, based on consumed/paid guest room revenue.
  • 20% discount in hotel outlets, excluding alcohol.
  • 20% audiovisual discount on retail AV pricing.

Doubletree by Hilton*

  • No attrition on groups of 50 peak rooms or less* through 3/31/2021.
  • Triple Brand points for designated recipient based on brand loyalty program.
  • $5 rebate to master account, based on consumed/paid guest room revenue.
  • 20% discount in hotel outlets, excluding alcohol.
  • 20% audiovisual discount on retail AV pricing.

Hilton Hotel Arlington*

  • No attrition on groups of 50 peak rooms or less* through 3/31/2021.
  • Triple Brand points for designated recipient based on brand loyalty program.
  • $5 rebate to master account, based on consumed/paid guest room revenue.
  • 20% discount in hotel outlets, excluding alcohol.
  • 20% audiovisual discount on retail AV pricing.

Live! By Loews Hotel**

  • No attrition on groups of 50 peak rooms or less* through 12/30/2020.
  • $5 rebate to master account, based on consumed/paid guest room revenue.
  • 20% audiovisual discount on retail AV pricing.

Sheraton Arlington Hotel*

  • No attrition on groups of 50 peak rooms or less* through 3/31/2021.
  • Triple Brand points for designated recipient based on brand loyalty program.
  • $5 rebate to master account, based on consumed/paid guest room revenue.
  • 20% discount in hotel outlets, excluding alcohol.
  • 20% audiovisual discount on retail AV pricing.
  • *Restrictions apply.
    Must mention this offer to receive value-add concessions.  
    Applicable for new group opportunities only.  
    Does not apply to previous definite bookings or existing bookings.
  • ** Restrictions
    Loews offer: No attrition through 12/30/2020
    Does not include 20% off discount in hotel outlets and triple brand loyalty points.

For more information, visit the Arlington CVB’s No Attrition Into 2021 web page.

Little Rock CVB Offers Zero Attrition and Cancellation Fees for Events Booked in 2020

Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) announced that it has partnered with the city’s hotels to guarantee zero attrition and zero cancellation fees. Little Rock properties will offer groups with up to 75 peak rooms zero attrition and zero cancellation fees when booked by September 30, 2020, and used by January 30, 2021.

“We can’t predict what the remainder of 2020 is going to look like for our industry or group travel, but we are certain of the fact that things are beginning to move forward,” said Gina Gemberling, LRCVB vice president of sales and services in a release. “Little Rock is committed to offering safe, affordable meeting spaces and hotel rooms while removing the strain of potential cancellation charges,” she added.

Associated Luxury Hotels International Offers 50% Attrition

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) is offering up to 50% allowable attrition on guest rooms and F&B for new business booked and arriving prior to December 31, 2020.

The offer is valid at more than 125 participating ALHI hotels and was released along with a Back to Business Travel Safety Guidelines document intended to support meeting and event planners in communicating with decision makers about resuming travel.

The guidelines were compiled with insights from U.S. Travel Association, Delos, meeting design advisors from Steelcase Event Experiences and ALHI member-hotel operations leadership working from federal, state and local guidelines, and are intended as a quick-resource guide across the travel experience, including new air travel protocols from major airlines and TSA.

Visit Indy Waives Attrition Through 2020 

In partnership with Visit Indy, select Indianapolis hotels are offering zero attrition to groups that contract and actualize through the end of 2020. These hotels include: 

  • JW Marriott Indianapolis 
  • Indianapolis Marriott Downtown 
  • The Westin Indianapolis 
  • Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites 
  • Embassy Suites Indianapolis Downtown 
  • Hyatt Regency Indianapolis 
  • Le Meridien Indianapolis 
  • Omni Severin Hotel  
  • Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station 
  • Conrad Indianapolis 
  • Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Downtown  
  • The Alexander 
  • Courtyard by Marriott at the Capitol 

All of the hotels listed above, with the exception of Courtyard by Marriott at the Capitol, are less than a mile away from the Indiana Convention Center.

Benchmark Offers Zero Attrition and Other Initiatives

Benchmark Hospitality launched a strategic recovery initiative valid through March 2021 that offers a number of major concessions for meetings bookings, including no attrition or cancellation fees.

Named the Meeting Accelerator initiative, the program includes the following elements:

  • Flexible short-term bookings, relaxed attrition and cancellation fees, and 100% credit given on rebookings.
  • Meeting spaces at Benchmark properties will be restructured, focusing on long-term safety to align with conscious distancing and optimizing healthy hygiene practices.
  • To support independent planners, Benchmark will increase commissions on new business from 10% to 12%, with 7% distributed immediately upon booking.

According to Benchmark, following are the more-specific details of the Meeting Accelerator initiative.

Zero-Risk Clause

  • Zero attrition or cancellation fees will apply to contracted room and food and beverage revenue on new meetings scheduled through March 31, 2021, until 60 days in advance of arrival.
  • Zero risk in rebooking: A full, one-time rebooking credit will be extended to new meetings scheduled April 1, 2021-December 31, 2021, with a minimum cancellation notice requirement of 90 days in advance of arrival. Rebooked groups must be of equal or greater contracted revenue and be held by December 31, 2021.

Transformative Meeting Environment

Benchmark is including safe distancing and elevated hygiene procedures and safety protocols that include:

  • A Safe Environment: Safe social distance spacing, sanitizer stations, increased air purification and aroma therapies and staggered breaks coordinating event entry and exit timing.
  • A Safe Food and Beverage Program: Sustainable, nutritious and enhanced food safety culinary practices, complemented by local sourcing and cooperative partnerships, and skilled culinarians and mixologists.
  • Safe and Activated Breaks: Staggered refreshment breaks with mindful programming; from guided breathing exercises and yoga to brain teasers and flash mob dances to stimulate energy and engagement.
  • Safe and Healthy Teambuilding: Unique physical, social and creative experiences to enrich individual and collective minds, bodies and souls, delivered in a safe and secure environment.

Benchmark Hospitality operates a portfolio of more than 80 properties across three continents, including Benchmark Resorts & Hotels; its lifestyle and luxury Gemstone Collection; and Benchmark Conference Centers. Benchmark is also an investor in etc.venues, a provider of contemporary city center venues for meetings, signature events and conferences.

Find more information about the Meeting Accelerator initiative here.

This article was updated June 1, 2020.