Hello friends and attendees of Anthro New England!
The train is approaching the station…ANE is only a few months away! As you know, this is a rather big year for our convention; it’s our first year in the Seaport and also our first year expanding beyond one hotel – both are big milestones and we’re all so grateful for your support throughout the year.
I wanted to write this blog post because this is my first experience spearheading a convention’s hotel move, and I thought folks might be interested in what the process looks like!
We signed with the Westin back in very late 2019/early 2020, and at that time our convention was somewhat smaller; initially, we used booking numbers from 2019 to estimate that yes, we’d likely be booking out close to the entire Westin, and from there if need be, we could speak to adjacent hotels in the area to book “overflow” blocks. We selected the Westin for several reasons – much larger event space than our previous venue, despite actually having fewer rooms; proximity to the convention center for potential future growth; and many hotels in close proximity to the event space to account for growth as well.
As a convention, it’s not a good idea to book/reserve additional blocks in advance if you don’t know they’ll be filled, because the convention/event is generally on the hook for 80-90% of those room bookings; ie, if they’re not filled, the convention is responsible for covering the cost of those reserved rooms. For that reason, we started with a fairly conservative block at the Westin, actually smaller than our block last year, with plans to expand to the whole hotel if need be – again keeping in mind that this was booked in 2019 and our 2020/2022 events grew in the meantime.
When we opened the block in late September which was about 2/3 of the entire Westin, y’all jumped on it with HASTE, and we quickly sold out of rooms. We worked with the Westin to expand our block to encompass the entire hotel, but unfortunately our initial contract had not included suites – for 2024 we’ll be sure to include those. To give you an idea of just how much faster these rooms sold than our rooms last year, we’re currently sitting 300 room nights above where we were last year at this time. Estimating this stuff post-COVID has been an absolute bear, especially with an upper limit on rooms at our primary hotel. However, this past week we officially sold out of Saturday room nights at the Westin – so it’s officially time to expand again!
Unfortunately one of our planned overflow hotels was already booked for the weekend of our convention, so our next attempt to find suites for attendee use was also unsuccessful. Now that we have some familiarity with the area and a better idea of how fast our primary hotel will sell out, we’ll be able to book with that hotel sooner for 2024, and we should have a myriad of suite options for our attendees for that event next year.
That’s what we were NOT able to do this year – so let’s talk about the overflow block!
We reached out to our friends at the Aloft Boston Seaport Hotel this week, and they have offered us a FANTASTIC room rate for the area – $139/night for either a King or Two Queens room. The Aloft is right across the street from the Lawn on D behind the Westin, and is a very short walk to our event space. You can find information about that at anthronewengland.com/hotel. They were able to turn this around for us super quickly, and they’re very excited to host us!
It’ll likely take a few days for the hotel to pass the booking link over to us, but when that’s ready we’ll be announcing it via our social channels, so if you have not booked a room yet keep an eye out — and thanks again for supporting Anthro New England! This process has been a lot of work, but the end result and how we grow from there is something I’m very much looking forward to.
We’ll see you in January!