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“Fundraising Events-We have the same needs!”

Date: 5/3/2010
Written By: Margery Reinheardt, Director of Catering, Hilton Houston Post Oak


Hotel Ballrooms will always be popular venues for fundraising events of all types. Look at any hotel's event boards and you will find gala dinners, luncheons with speakers, evening receptions, even the old "power" breakfast and you'll see non profit organizations hosting functions all over Houston. Have you ever "played the game" with a hotel to receive a commitment for your perfect event date? … Have you ever been told why the date is not available now, but if you can wait till (whenever), it may be available then? 

Hotels are in a similar business to not-for-profit organizations of raising dollars, albeit for a different purpose. Understanding what motivates our operations can assist your fund raising effort remarkably- it's all about the DATE. First, we must remember why a hotel is in business- "To sell guestrooms", then everything else is secondary. Most Catering Operations are looking to fill in the space around existing Convention activity, or maximize the use of their future event dates, and still leave a margin of space available for possible Group business that has yet to book. Since Tuesday and Wednesday nights are preferred for group and transient travel, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday meetings tend to be attached. Since Houston is not considered a Destination Location yet, travel is soft Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights with Thursday being a shoulder date. Therefore, your event is more likely to secure space for a Sunday, Monday or Friday (daytime) event AND more likely to get a better financial package on these dates, as well. Many organizations think that they will not get the higher attendance on these dates, however, if you think about it- there are a lot fewer events to compete with on these dates- so perhaps these may be prime dates after all! 

Of course there is the ever-popular Saturday night event! With only 52 Saturdays available every year, the highest demanded date also carries the highest price tag! When a facility can maximize revenues for Saturdays, they are less likely to offer discounts or special amenity packages for your consideration if this is the date you select. The revenues from Saturday events many times provide the cushion for us to provide "better offers" to functions that book the less demanded dates. 

So if you are looking to save a few dollars ask your Catering Manager- "what dates do you have to offer that can be confirmed now?" – chances are they will be looking to fill a period between scheduled conventions, or over historically low demand times. If you can make this work with your agenda, you are bound to get a better package too! And, here's a special note-hotels under serious renovation have even greater function space availability. 

We all want to be successful- to have the "best event"- to raise the "most money" to secure our clientele's or our volunteers "loyalty"! Let's make it a Win-Win situation where everyone is able to accomplish their goals. Just remember to ask about THE DATE!