Over the last two years, the ANA Convention Department has
received numerous complaints about third-party companies that
contact ANA dealers and members with offers to book hotel rooms for
them at the National Money ShowSM and the World's Fair
of MoneySM. These companies have no affiliation with the
ANA, and booking accommodations through them is risky to you and
detrimental to the Association in a number of ways.
According to an article in MeetingsNet, a trade publication for
the event-planning industry, these third-party companies have
become a menace to associations across the country. At worst, the
article reports, travelers who book through these companies show up
for an event to find they have no hotel room and that the
fly-by-night company has, in fact, flown the coop with the
traveler's credit card number. At best, the company books you in a
room at the conference hotel outside the official room block and
rarely with a dime saved. Or you could find yourself at
another hotel site that is miles away from the event.
ANA staff members have investigated a few of the companies that
have contacted members with hotel offers, and they've found
that most of them have low scores and a high number of complaints
filed with the Better Business Bureau. The Convention Department
has heard from ANA dealers that some of these callers misrepresent
themselves as ANA staff or as employees of a company hired by the
ANA to make these calls. Neither is true. There are only two ways
to reserve rooms in the ANA block and to receive the discounted
room rate: register by phone or on the hotel's website. (Links are
featured at nationalMoneyShow .com and worldsFairofMoney.com.)
Knowing how many hotel rooms to reserve in a block is one of the
many challenges that face ANA convention planners. ANA Convention
Manager Rhonda Scurek has the task of trying to determine that
number. Not reserving enough rooms means those attendees who
bookrooms closer to the convention might have to pay full price
(assuming non-block rooms are even available), while reserving too
many puts the ANA at risk of picking up the tab on empty rooms.
"Every time an attendee books a room outside the contracted
block, the ANA could lose thousands of dollars," explains Scurek.
"The ANA is contractually required to fill a certain number of
rooms. Reservations outside the ANA block do not count towards this
This problem can have a long-term impact as well. A
history of unfilled room blocks makes it harder for associations to
negotiate the best room rates and book the top convention centers
on the most popular dates. Groups that draw a large attendance get
preferential booking the next time around.
When it comes to reserving hotel rooms, the safe bet is always
to initiate the contact. If the "hotel" or some other entity calls
or e-mails you with offers, you're essentially being asked to give
your credit card number to a total stranger. If you wouldn't walk
up to a stranger on the street and hand him your card, why would
you give that number out over the phone to someone you've never
So, call the hotel directly or book your accommodations using
the links provided by the ANA. It's safe for you, and it helps
ensure that our Convention Department can continue to find the best
rates, dates, cities and facilities for ANA shows.
This article first appeared in The Numismatist.