I'm traveling to a professional conference as a speaker. The conference is reimbursing speakers for hotel stay (up to a certain limit) and have a block of rooms at a local hotel, with a conference-specific discount code which gives you a certain room rate. They've asked speakers to make their bookings at the hotel with the discount code and apply for reimbursement.

I've found that the hotel has an even better rate if you're a AAA member. I'd like to save the conference some money so I'm considering booking it. Should I ask the conference organizers before doing this? They could make use of this information by letting other speakers know as well. Obviously not all speakers would be AAA members.

The room rate difference is USD 17/night, for 2-3 nights. So the conference would save $34-51 on each speaker that took advantage of the lower rate. And I don't think there are more than 20 speakers from out of town, so they'd save USD 1000 at most if every speaker was able to make use of the AAA discount.

  • You can if you want, what's the worst that you think can happen? We don't know what their budget is, so we don't know how much that amount would matter to them. I don't know what the AAA is (American Automobile Association?), but I'd be somewhat surprised if as many as 10% of people were members, would bother and haven't booked yet. – Bernhard Barker Oct 23 '17 at 6:32
  • AAA has 55m members in the USA and Canada, so maybe 25-30% of all drivers in those two countries. Worst that can happen: they think I'm a bit of a cheapskate or weirdo. Or smug for one-upping their special conference rate with my super-special AAA rate :-) I admit I may be overthinking this – Jay Oct 23 '17 at 6:42
  • @Dukeling I've edited my question to hopefully have it be less opinion-based. The accepted answer below shows that I hadn't considered the conference's contract with the hotel in this scenario. I also left a comment on the answer explaining what eventually happened. I think this question may be useful to the community eventually – Jay Oct 23 '17 at 18:47

I am hotel liaison for a small science fiction convention. Often, our hotel arrangements involve a commitment for a certain number of rooms under the convention code. That is more likely to be the case if they are using other hotel facilities, such as meeting rooms. We expect any rooms that we are covering to be booked under our code and count towards our block.

Whether using the AAA rate instead of the conference rate would save them money or cost them money depends on their contract with the hotel. You should either book your room exactly the way they recommended, under their code, or check with them first.

  • Thanks! I hadn't considered this perspective. I'll check with the organizers and see what they say. – Jay Oct 23 '17 at 6:54
  • Plus booking all rooms with one hotel saves the person booking the rooms a lot of time, which will probably end up costing them more anyway. – Stephan Bijzitter Oct 23 '17 at 10:29
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    There are a lot of things happening in B2B relations that are completely unknown to B2C situations. In Ontario, did you know businesses can ship mail at a 70% discount? I worked at a company that printed invoices for the power company. There are special things we do with these massive bulk mails that gives us massive discounts otherwise inaccessible to a normal customer. – Nelson Oct 23 '17 at 13:04
  • I booked the cheaper rate and then emailed the conference informing them of the cheaper rate (didn't tell them I'd already booked). They asked me to stick with the conference's rate because it would make bookkeeping simpler for them. Fortunately my reservation has free cancellation so no harm done :-) I'll simply re-book with the conference's rate. – Jay Oct 23 '17 at 18:43

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