How it Works

Catamaran Reception Area Catamaran Reception Area

by Valerie Huaco

The caller was so enthusiastic her voice bounced right out at me. Guess what! She wanted us to know that she had found a cheap hotel room to stay in during the annual meeting of WMA. Wasn’t that great? Did we want to tell the membership?

So here’s how it works. WMA starts looking at where to hold the annual meeting two, three, even four years in advance. Once a proposal has come in from museum folk interested in hosting our community at thrilling sites and institutions, Elida packs her bag (carry on only for this gal) and goes to visit the city in question. She tours five to ten hotels (and keeps them straight in her head!) to assess meeting spaces, accommodations, transportation, walkability, and always price. She haggles, she asks, she looks under the bedspread, all in a quest to provide the perfect combination of affordability, comfort, and meeting space. You see, access to the meeting space for the general session, exhibit hall, and every break out room, is a function of how many beds we promise to fill at a hotel. So if you stay at a different hotel, and we fail to meet the minimum number of beds filled, WMA may have to pay a fine. Did I say fine? I meant ransom – it’s a number pushing six figures.

In other words, it’s a package deal: please stay at the conference hotel, join in the conviviality and convenience, and help us to secure the shared space we rely on for excellent presentations and networking. Be sure the hotel knows you’re there with WMA, and if you end up staying for fewer nights than planned, let reception know asap so another museum-head can claim the space.

Yeah, we did want to tell the membership.




Thanks for the clear explanation! I know I didn't understand the relationship between the 'host' hotel and our ability to even have a conference when I first attended. And I did know that there were probably cheaper rooms out there if I just looked. I hope this helps!

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Just want to see if you are a robot.