Full SSSA Conference Hotel Registration Policy
SSSA’s ability to negotiate low room rates depends almost entirely upon the association’s ability to guarantee to the hotel that a certain number of people will stay at the conference hotel. You are therefore strongly urged to stay at the conference hotel(s). Convention attendees choosing not to do so will incur a surcharge equivalent to one night stay in the conference hotel. The surcharge will appear on their conference registration. At the time you register for the conference you will verify that you have read and agree to these rules.
Exceptions to the surcharge will be made for attendees living or associated with high schools, colleges, universities, companies, or agencies located within 50 miles of the conference location.
No reasons will waive the hotel surcharge even for reasons such as the hotel is too expensive, disagree with policies of certain individuals/institutions, living on limited income, other affordable hotels with better accommodations, missing the hotel reservation deadline, etc. will not waive the hotel surcharge.
The conference hotel’s master listing of SSSA room block guests will be our core reference document showing whether attendees are staying at the hotel. In the unlikely case that you are staying at the conference hotel, but your name is not on the hotel’s list, please bring proof of your hotel registration to the conference registration staff.
This policy has been implemented because SSSA runs a risk of not fulfilling our agreements with our conference hotels regarding the number of room nights our conference attendees use during the conference. This occurs because people have increasingly sought out alternative accommodations for their stays in the conference cities. While the leadership of SSSA understands the financial reasons for doing this, there are very negative effects for the association.
First, we are able to successfully negotiate free meeting space from our convention hotels because the hotels believe they will make a certain amount of money from our attendees’ hotel stays, based on our estimates of conference attendance. The association’s contracts with the hotels, however, typically state that if the conference does not meet the room block minimum to which we have agreed, then the hotel can charge SSSA (1) for the unused room block balance, usually at the conference room night rate, and (2) for our use of the meeting spaces used by panels, receptions, etc., with charges estimated to begin at $10,000-$30,000. (If you have ever rented a hotel ballroom for a wedding reception, for example, you know how expensive that cost can be; multiply that by five ballrooms for three full days, and you’ll begin to grasp the scale of the fees involved.)
Second, our ability to obtain free meeting space from the convention hotels permits SSSA to keep convention registration and membership fees relatively low. Even though SSSA has in reserve sufficient funds to cover these levels of additional expenses for a couple of years, beyond that the charges would bankrupt the association. In order to avoid that, we would have to significantly raise conference registration and membership fees, which, in turn, could plausibly reduce attendance and membership.
Third, our ability to meet the terms of our current hotel contracts (in terms of enough attendees staying in enough conference hotel rooms) directly affects our ability to negotiate favorable room rates and inexpensive (or free) meeting space with other hotels for future conferences. If we fail to meet our contracted number of room stays, the hotel industry would become significantly less accommodating to us.
Thus, the SSSA Council approved in 2006 the policy of a conference registration surcharge for attendees electing not to stay in our convention hotels. In 2012 the SSSA reaffirmed this decision and increased the fee. This is becoming an increasingly common practice in academic associations, though we took this step being very conscious of the conflict in which it may place attendees. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we move forward.