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Avoiding another Honolulu
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In the First Day Table Count thread, I started to write a long thread addressing Barry Senensky's comments. I found myself rambling on a variety of topics, so thought I would start my own thread. 

First. addressing Barry - bringing up "honorariums" and such to the BOD. Until the governance structure is changed (and I believe it will), the community is beating a dead horse and further driving a wedge between activist members on BW and the BOD. I mean, I would hope that I can even get a return phone call from our DD after so much of the vitriol that has been posted here. I would rather focus on smart moves the league is making like killing the Orlando deal in advance and the lessons we can learn as the league is contracting in size coupled with the new landscape of lodging in 2018.

Addressing problems and proposing solutions can be done without questioning people's motives.

Unfortunately, there is a grand canyon of trust with the BOD right now. If you are a BOD member and are reading this, feedback would be extremely appreciated. 

In spite of the frequent flame wars, I do believe many of us (but not all) want the best for the ACBL. Similarly, I believe many of the BOD (but not all) truly care about the future of bridge and contribute to finding ways to save the game. 

Barry does raise a good point, but it’s something of a Catch-22.

It would have been hard to anticipate demand for the hotel rooms, but I would have thought it possible. Think about this:

Several ACBL staff members could have sat down in a conference room in Horn Lake in August 2017 for an afternoon and said, “Pretend I’m a potential member and I am shopping for rooms for a (hypothetical) 2017 NABC to held for Thanksgiving weekend".

What are the deals out there near the site with other hotels and AIRBNB, etc. and how do the rates through OnPeak compare?”. I would think they would have discovered budget hotels nearby and share-economy properties that members would gobble up instead of booking at the host. Smart organizations anticipate these icebergs - sure you cannot break the contract with the Hilton, but you have a captive audience coming to the site - make it worth their while to stay at the host! A profit is better than a small loss, but a small loss is better than a big loss! 

This simulation should really be run for ANY NABC – just to foresee problems and mitigate the penalty if it exists.

This simulation will also reveal if there’s going to be a problem with too few hotel rooms for our members, which is just as bad. You aren’t going to have happy members if getting hotel rooms is like getting Rolling Stones tickets at Meadowlands and sell out on Day 1 to only Patron Members. It’s quite possible the league needs to increase it’s commitment for a property at the rate. The hotel might like the extra commitment, and we might be able to get more love from the property for it.

In the end, if it’s a good deal for Horn Lake, then we can feel good. This is why some of us have inquired into other upcoming sites – what exposure is out there? 

In the case of Honolulu, had some research been done, the ACBL could have offered an “early-bird” discount and subsidized rooms of say $20 per night through OnPeak to get reservations last summer. The league could have offered this discount until a satisfactory number was sold. This so much better than Jay Whipple coming on a month before the tourney asking people to pay more to stay at the host when many made their reservations months prior. Not a lot of good can come out of this.  

A condition (to avoid the ‘vacationing’ member and their non-bridge playing family) to the discount is that they have to play bridge for a majority of the time they are there, but at this point, I would bet the league is wishing they had the same problem in ’06 with people coming and not playing bridge.

You cannot wait until bookings start to offer this deal because it’s unfair for those that committed early at a higher rate. And offering an early-bird rate is way more equitable than just soaking the players for higher entry fees and offering coupons or script back for staying in the host hotel.   

Now, the League is going to be stuck holding the bag for empty hotel rooms for $360K. And by the way, the Hilton is still selling rooms above the rate quoted to the ACBL – if we wanted to jump on a 7 hour flight, I can get a room Saturday night for $210 (hotels.com). These rooms (in theory) should belong to the ACBL – after all they paid for them via penalties. Why couldn’t I call up Jay and say, “my wife and I want to take a belated anniversary trip, I’ll stay there Thursday through Sunday for $100 / night”. Sounds like a win/win to me! But sorry, no bridge during this weekend.  

Thank you. 

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