Since room rate is the holy grail when it comes to a hotelier evaluating meeting business, according to a recent MeetingsNet survey of hoteliers (and clearly, for planners as well), “give a rate range,” advised panelist Kevin Boland, director of sales, San Diego metro market, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. He said most meeting hotels use the STAR report, a monthly report released by STR (Smith Travel Research) that shows a hotel’s performance in comparison with its local “competitive set” of properties. “Salespeople are given revenue parameters each week,” based on those reports, added Julie Mullins Scuras, key account director, America sales, InterContinental Hotel Group, Chicago. So date flexibility for your meeting or event is critical, she added. “Shifting your meeting pattern by even one day could save you $75 per room night.” Of course room rate is not the only consideration for a hotel when evaluating group business. The biggest red flag, according to our survey of hoteliers? Concessions that are lengthy or unrealistic. “Highlight the concessions that are most important to your group,” said Boland. Partnerships and relationships still play a key role in getting the dates, rates, and space you need, said panelist Keri Kelly, senior director of hotel industry relations, onPeak, a GES Global Company, which offers third-party housing services. Get the full story at MeetingNet