What impacts do the newest line of of environmentally friendly thermostats, keynote talks on popular clothing colors for the summer and cooking demonstrations for the newest grilling equipment have to do with a hotel's need for more storage? At first glance, not much. There is seemingly little correlation between those topics and a hotel dealing with occupancy issues that require more space.
However in Chicago, one can draw a direct line between the two. That's because from March 5-8, the Windy City will be hosting the 2016 International Homes and Housewares Show. The event, hosted by the International Housewares Association, features more than 2,100 exhibitors on the topic of home improvement, along with speeches, events around town and demonstrations. More than 62,000 people are expected to attend, and nearly all of the need a place to stay close to the largest convention center in the country, McCormick Place.
The IHA convention is one of the largest trade shows in the U.S. every year, but far from the only major event that regularly takes place during the winter and spring. Annually, shows of that kind, along with conferences, large sporting events and other special events descend on cities around the country for short a period. This can bring great traffic for hotels in the area. However it may also mean stressful times for hospitality businesses that are short on space. Before the influx of customers arrive, surrounding hotels must develop a plan for improving their versatility so they have room for everyone who needs it.
Preparing for full occupancy
Cities that host these types of large-scale events usually guarantee ahead of time they have the necessary space to house every out of town guest that may need a room. For example in Chicago, there are more than 108,000 hotel rooms across the city, according to Loyalty Traveler. That is more than enough to host all of the IHA show attendees in a few months.
"Hotels must develop a plan for improving their versatility so they have room for everyone who needs it."
But certain times of the year, there may be an influx of tourists, other events demanding those rooms, or even hotel construction. All of those factors will impact occupancy rates. Choose Chicago, a part of the city's tourism bureau, reported that every month between May and November 2015, more than 80 percent of the city's hotel rooms were full in the central business district. In a simple case of supply and demand, the more people reserving hotels meant higher prices, with the peak hitting nearly $255 per room in May.
As hotels move closer to full occupancy, they begin to look for innovative ways to save space, so they can sell more rooms. Meanwhile customers, especially those who may be away from their hotel all day at a convention and don't need the grandest accommodations, are willing to stay in makeshift locations if it means a lower cost.
Hospitality chains can prepare for a wave of customers by acquiring temporary storage from Mobile Mini. Rooms used to store spare sheets or for housekeeping can be repurposed, so guests can stay there instead. The cost of adding a storage unit from Mobile Mini will end up being a net profit, given the revenue a hotel can gain by selling more rooms during a busy event.
Being ready for anything
Adding versatile storage can be difficult to do without a little bit of prep time, so it is vital for those in the hospitality industry to plan ahead and know when large events are coming their way. Hotel managers in Northern California have been preparing for years for the week of Feb. 1-8, 2016, when the Super Bowl and surrounding hoopla will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area, with the game being held in nearby Santa Clara. According to Forbes, there are about 35,000 hotel rooms in that part of the country, though more can be included depending on how far guests want to stay from either the stadium or downtown San Francisco.
The Super Bowl is not a rare case in terms of planning ahead. Many conventions like the IHA show in Chicago give warning when they are going to travel to a different city, oftentimes working out deals with hotels ahead of time so they can guarantee enough hotel rooms for all their guests.
Some winter and spring events do not provide as much notice, such as other sporting events, political speeches and impromptu large business meetings. Inclement weather also can force a large amount of people to need lodging in a city without much notice. In those cases, a hotel may have to scramble to meet their demand.
Again, storage from Mobile Mini can be of great help. By storing additional beds, sheets, furniture or anything else a hotel needs in an on-site facility, those items can be accessed when a large wave of customers arrive.
There are times when a hotel may know when their occupancy rates may grow, and winter and spring events are some of those key periods of the calendar. It's also wise to be ready for the unexpected jumps, which can be assisted through storage units from Mobile Mini.