Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mile High Madness Part II

Previously I wrote and indicated what our council members spent while in Denver. Now, it's time to break down some of those expenses.

Let's look at hotel costs. This is one area that definitely needs to be looked at much closer. As previously pointed out, the rooms are primarily for sleeping, showering and changing clothes. Most of the folks' time is taken up eating, attending seminars and socializing with individuals from other cities.

Our people stayed at the Hyatt Regency. That is the hotel directly across from the Denver Convention Center. The discounted group rate was $240/night. Now if we take the mayor and city manager out of the equation we had 4 council members who between them had 16 nights at the hotel. At $240/night (including taxes) that becomes $3,840.

Now, the folks who went from Lenexa got a group rate of $137/night (including taxes) at the Crowne Plaza. Granted that was a block or so away. Golly, they had to walk a little. If our council reps had stayed there, they could have saved $1,648. And how much could those four have saved if they doubled up? Allowing for a $30 surcharge for 2 in a room they would have paid approximately $1,336 or a savings of approximately $2,500.

How much would have been saved if the mayor and the city manager had also stayed at the lower priced hotel? Naturally in separate rooms, I’m still estimating another $500 could have been saved.

The Crowne Plaza is not exactly a notel motel………it would have served the primary functionality.

The next question is how much more could have been saved if we didn't have a six person delegation? Reduced per diem charges, reduced transportation charges, reduced registration charges for the conference and reduced charges for the number of people attending the various paid seminars. That could have been in the thousands.

This becomes important for another reason. In less than two months, the National League of Cities "biggie" is going to be in Washington, DC. And, considering the time line, arrangements are probably being made right now. Will we be sending another oversized delegation? Will they be staying in the most expensive of all the convention hotels, in individual rooms?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Representation at these conferences is good. We just don't need to send an army. And, they can walk a little and stay at a better priced hotel.