What is the Required Tournament Housing Policy?
This is a new policy that requires all teams to reserve their hotel accommodations through THS, the approved housing service of USAV and NCVF in order to be eligible to participate in the NCVF Volleyball Championships. Teams not requiring hotel rooms through special situation must apply for an exemption through the USA Volleyball Events Department to satisfy the eligibility requirement.
Why have you instituted Required Tournament Housing this year?
The Required Tournament Housing policy has numerous beneficial effects, including:
· It requires and enforces hotels to offer all our participants the lowest rate that will be available at that property for the dates of our event.
· It provides USAV/NCVF through THS, the ability to accurately track all room nights generated by the tournament. This increases our negotiating position with each city bidding on the tournament, not only in the cost and availability of the venue, but also for decreasing or eliminating other costs related to running the event. In addition, it helps keep the tournament on budget, without having to increase entry fees.
· It gives THS tremendous leverage in the negotiation of rates.
How do the hotels get selected for the "Official Hotel List?"
USAV and THS first set a rate ceiling each year to establish the highest rate that will be accepted from each hotel. The rate ceiling will vary by hotel quality and location. These requirements are communicated to the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) that sends out the Request for Proposal (RFP) to each hotel.
After receiving the bids back from the CVB, THS evaluates each bid to ensure that the best and closest hotels offer a rate no higher than the ceiling rate that was set. All other hotels, depending on their hotel quality and location, are priced at a lower rate. After the hotels from the original CVB bid are successfully contracted, THS creates a new list of hotels that did not bid but would be of most interest to the teams/clubs. THS contacts each hotel directly to determine at this point if they are interested in bidding and attempts to negotiate a usable contract with each hotel. This final list is then approved by USAV/NCVF and the Official Hotel List is generated.
At a later time if a new hotel opens, or a hotel that previously had not bid comes forward to offer rooms, THS will have a discussion with that hotel, and will consider adding them if additional rooms are needed in that location or rate range. However if there is good historical tracking of the number of hotel rooms that are used each year, it is does not work to anyone’s advantage (USAV, NCVF, THS, Hotel, or City) to contract for more rooms than are expected to be used. If that happens, then it leaves a poor reflection on the event not only with the hotel but also the city regarding the event (hotels and cities do talk to each other concerning events and how they performed). A poor performance could negatively affect future negotiations for USAV to bring this or another of its events back to this area or to other cities.
Can we book direct with one of the official hotels on the list?
All teams are required to complete the reservation through the THS reservations system and should not go directly through the hotel. If teams go directly to the hotel, the hotel is required by contract to not offer a price lower than the tournament negotiated rate and you will end up paying higher rates for your room and not fulfill the requirement.
Why are certain Hotels NOT on the approved Hotel list?
Every hotel in a city has the opportunity to bid on USAV’s events, through their CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau). The primary reasons a hotel does not get contracted by THS include:
· They did not submit a bid to the CVB for whatever reason.
· They submitted a bid for too small of a block of rooms and/or at too high a rate for their location/product.
· They could not guarantee the room types the teams require - rooms with 2 beds, or at the very least a room with a king bed and a comfortable pullout sofa.
· They would not agree to the terms and conditions in the contract.
· THS has already contracted for the maximum number of rooms that are needed for the event.
What are the “Requirements” to work with a Hotel?
USAV and THS have created a set of terms and conditions that each hotel is required to follow. They are very detailed, and some of them include:
· A cancellation deadline of 30 days, to allow contracts to be cancelled or reduced if there is little or no pick-up in a particular hotel. This protects USAV and THS from having to pay performance fees when it is impossible to know exactly which of the hotel room blocks will actually be most attractive to participants.
· A guarantee that the rate THS is able to negotiate is the lowest rate that the hotel will be selling over our dates. This contract term alone lowers the rate quote of many hotels, because if a hotel quotes the NCVF Championships rate too high, it seriously reduces their ability to sell the rest of their rooms to other consumers because THAT rate (which must be higher than the tournament rate) will be too expensive. Also, THS is able to use this clause in the contract to monitor and enforce the rates each hotel sells direct to the public – a clause that requires the tournament rate to be the lowest.
· A detailed set of comp guarantees for officials and staff at every hotel in order to keep the costs of the tournament down and the tournament entry fees to the teams as low as possible.
· Each hotel contract normally establishes the state the hotel is located as the location of jurisdiction in the event that either party (THS or the hotel) feels there have been damages incurred. THS removes this restriction, allowing a case to be started in the state of the party filing the suit to be the place of jurisdiction. THS has used this in the past to get refunds and other problems resolved when a hotel does not deliver the product and services as contracted for its customers.
What is the harm in me contacting a Hotel NOT on the list and booking direct?
Having 4,500+ usable hotel rooms available in close proximity so that the CVB can bid on the NCVF Championships is no small task. The Required Tournament Housing policy rewards the hotels in a city that partner with the CVB, who will agree to bid rooms AND to hold the rooms aside (1-2 years in advance of the event) until USAV/NCVF selects the city for each year's tournament. The Required Tournament Housing policy will fill more rooms at these hotels, which improves the chances that the city will bid on future USAV events.
Conversely, if a team/club was allowed to book at any hotel, this takes away rooms from the hotels that most deserve to be part of the tournament, who have each made a huge financial commitment to their city and the Championship Event. Hotels that offer low rated rooms in the days or weeks before a tournament have committed nothing, and have the luxury of knowing their last minute availability for our dates. The bottom-line is that the tournament could not take place in a city without the hotels that become an Official Hotel 1-2 years in advance of the tournament dates.
Lastly, teams/clubs that have booked direct in the past have agreed to a higher rate than USAV and THS would accept as part of this negotiation process. Catering to these teams that book directly has motivated some hotels to specifically NOT bid on the tournament, knowing their rates would not be accepted by the tournament, and they could get a higher rate from these teams. That can undermine the relationships between USAV, NCVF and THS with the hotels on the Official list, who have all agreed to the rate ceiling that has been imposed as well as the low comp policies that are negotiated for the teams.