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Hotel poaching remains major headache for associations

One survey found nearly three of four events organizers say they have been targeted by scams designed to lure meeting attendees

Aug. 21, 2015
By Walt Williams

Hotel room block “pirates” or “poachers” are continuing to plague association-sponsored events, and one recent survey has found that most meeting planners don’t have measures in place to deal with them.

Hotel poaching is the practice of trying to lure conference attendees and exhibitors away from official hotel room blocks with offers of cheaper rooms elsewhere. Poaching can be costly for associations, which are usually under contract with the hotels to fill a certain number of rooms or face financial penalties. Poaching scams can also sour the experience of attendees and exhibitors who have been targeted.

Most poachers are third-party housing companies in the business of booking hotel rooms near places frequently used for business events, like conference centers. While there is nothing illegal about making these offers, some companies that engage in poaching will falsely claim to represent the organization hosting the event, or claim that all the official rooms are booked when that’s not the case.