The Exchange : If you get a call about housing for an ANA convention, that call is not from the ANA

If you get a call about housing for an ANA convention, that call is not from the ANA

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 obligation."

 

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 met?

 

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.

Written by Jake Sherlock at 00:00

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