Housing Bureau

Housing Bureau

Fall Housing Bureau Process 

Grand Nationals & Super Regionals

Music for All is committed to providing thorough and equitable housing support to participants in Bands of America Grand Nationals and Fall Super Regional Championships. Creating, operating and ensuring the success of large-scale destination events is complex and complicated. Music for All is committed to maintaining and operating a transparent and supportive housing system. Over the next two years (fall seasons), Music for All is committed to a review and update of its housing and Housing Bureau operations.

We are also committed to include and keep our participants informed. Your input is valued and requested. As part of this housing system review and overhaul, and to help inform your consideration and input, we believe you are entitled to know “the how and why” of our Grand Nationals and Super Regional policies and operations.

What is the Policy?

All competing and exhibition bands and their booster groups utilizing hotel accommodations for their stay during Bands of America Grand Nationals and Super Regional Championships are REQUIRED to make their hotel reservations through the Bands of America (BOA) Housing Bureau.
The BOA Housing Bureau has been set up to allow MFA to:

• Secure and assure the availability of hotel rooms; 
• Secure lowest, best available large group/event pricing; and
• Sufficiently accommodate all the needs of participating bands.

Bands that violate this policy will not be permitted to perform and forfeit all enrollment fees. For policy purposes a “booster group” is defined as a group of parent/boosters who consolidate and make collective hotel sleeping room arrangements.

Why a Housing Bureau?

Bands of America Grand Nationals is a large scale, “city wide” event that occupies almost half the inventory of suitable Indianapolis hotel accommodations, including more than half of downtown Indianapolis’ “premium” properties. Bands of America Super Regionals are held in large and popular convention and destination communities. Grand Nationals and Super Regional championships utilize valued community assets (i.e. high quality, indoor stadiums) that exist, in part, for the purpose of attracting visitors (and their spending) in large numbers. As such, Music for All must:

• Make the case for and continuously justify our “value” to local communities by:
• Making a compelling case for committing to BOA events over and above other potential and competing meetings and events;
• Providing a measurable and proven track record of housing bookings to sustain our case; and
• Leveraging the value of proven and sustainable multi-year commitments.
• Plan and make commitments years in advance to:
• Secure local community support to commit performance venues;
• Hold and guarantee sufficient and adequate housing accommodations for participants;
• Have local (convention & visitor association and hotelier) support to secure and guarantee best available and most competitive group rates; and
• Protect against higher pricing and hotel room holdbacks for business travel bookings.
• Maintain a fair, equitable and transparent system that:
• Is consistent with our mission, vision and core values;
• Considers and meets the needs of a spectrum of participants (For example, our system must, as equitably as possible, support the planning needs of bands from Alaska or Hawaii that are making a trip of a lifetime, once every 4 year bands from the West Coast or Texas, as well as semi-annual or annual participants whose decisions are made year to year.);
• Allocates finite resources (that meet the many and varying needs and preferences of large traveling student groups);
• Avoids providing, or the appearance of providing, unintended bias or preference to regular or experienced past participants; and
• Avoids unmanageable, unsustainable or organizationally threatening fiscal consequences for Music for All.

Music for All must work and project years in advance to secure venue commitments and to assure the adequacy of supporting (housing) infrastructure. This requires MFA to make “best (informed by experience) guesses” concerning Championship enrollment, the dynamics of enrollment (where groups will come from and their related housing needs); and general considerations of group preferences, the state of our national economy and our comparative position with other potentially competing large (group) meetings and events.

The commitments we make are firm contracts with monetary guarantees for use of and payment for contracted venue space and sleeping rooms (called attrition clauses). In essence, our 2017 Fall participants are filling guest rooms contracted as early as 2014.

Our commitments ensure availability of adequate rooms necessary to sustain an event the size of a Super Regional or Grand Nationals. It helps to secure and lock in hotel commitments to offer a city’s best available and discounted group-housing options for bands and booster organizations. It also demonstrates a measurable component to maintain and prove the value for local communities where our Super Regionals and Grand Nationals take place. Showing the value of hotel business in these locations allows the local community to feel confident in their commitment to lease stadium and convention facilities to Music for All.

Does Music for All benefit financially from operating a housing bureau? Yes.

Music for All’s operation of a Housing Bureau does provide direct financial support to the related events and generally to the organization and its mission. MFA is a 501(c)(3) authorized “not for profit” organization. As such, all revenues, be they earned or contributed must be used to support our mission and in compliance with Federal and state laws and regulations governing non-profit organizations.

MFA’s negotiated hotel rates include modest financial support and commissions from participating hotels intended to support the overall operations, administrative investment, and assumed contractual risks.

In many ways, Music for All’s operating model is similar to that of the athletic operations typical of America’s colleges and universities. In that setting, revenues from football and basketball operations fund and support the other important athletic teams, organizations and commitments. For MFA, our Fall Championship schedule (especially Grand Nationals and Super Regionals) helps support administrative overhead and other programs and events. While revenues from most of our events exceed direct operating costs, they do not cover their full share on a fully allocated basis (that includes MFA salaries, benefits, office space, etc.).

Revenues gained from events, sponsorships, grants and gifts also support and help to fund our “vision” related programs that advocate for music education. They make it possible to support programs and projects that offer teacher, future music teacher, parent/booster, and student development and access to underrepresented and underserved communities (including small, rural, core urban, and ethnic and other minority communities) and to advance generally the “cause” of scholastic music education. Without the necessary resources, we cannot advance our mission and vision. Without these resources, our commitments to national and regional spring festivals, summer camp, honor ensembles and many other activities would not exist or only be offered at substantially higher fees.

The Process- including some new processes and procedures for Fall 2017

Do group travel planners receive priority? No!
How does MFA assign participating band group housing?

Before any group is assigned a hotel, all participating bands are REQUIRED to fill out a Housing Preference Form including groups choosing to not stay at a hotel (i.e. staying at a school or are local/driving in and out for the event).

The process of placing bands in hotels is, in essence, a jigsaw puzzle. Elements such as hotel availability and existing contracts are the main factors in meeting participant needs and satisfying hotel obligations. When information is received from bands or parent/booster groups, the following criteria are taken into consideration when assigning hotels:

● Number of rooms needed & room type (king rooms or double/double rooms)
● Length of stay (how many nights are being utilized)
● Group’s preferred amenities (some examples include: breakfast included or available, parking included or available, location – suburban or downtown)

Please refer to the Housing Guide and carefully read and consider the following as you fill out the form.

Housing Considerations

Length of Stay: The most difficult groups to place are those only staying one-night. If you are only staying for one night, it may require more time to place you and pair your accommodations with other participants and MFA contractual obligations.

Location: Downtown versus Suburban Hotels (see Hotel Reference Guide attachment for further classification of hotels)
● Downtown hotels: The price-point is higher and the availability is influenced by higher demand between bands and other group and individual business demand at downtown hotels.
● Suburban hotels: They will have a lower price-point but limited room-type availability (larger groups may need to be separated between multiple (but neighboring) hotels or may be asked to be flexible with room types).
● NOTE: There is no performance “flow” advantage to choosing a downtown hotel. All bands must enter the show flow the same way, regardless of weather, and as outlined in the Important Event Procedures for the event. In regards to Indianapolis (Super Regional Championship and Grand Nationals), the connector tunnel is not open as a point of entry for performance flow.

Full-Service versus Select-Service Hotels (see Hotel Reference Guide attachment for further detail and what is included at each hotel)
● Full-service hotels (i.e. JW Marriott, Westin, Hilton, Hyatt, Omni, Marriott) offer on-site restaurants, room service and generally have higher room rates.
● Select-service hotels (i.e. Hampton Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, et al) have limited amenities and generally have a lower or complimentary parking charge. Their room rates are generally lower as they offer fewer amenities.
● NOTE: ALL downtown hotels, regardless of full-service or select-service, charge for parking.
One property versus multiple/neighboring properties
● The number of available rooms at each hotel cannot always accommodate an entire group. As bands grow in size, it is becoming more and more common for groups to be split between two neighboring hotels. This is especially common in suburban hotels where room availability is less.

Other decision-making factors
● If breakfast being included in your room rate is a decision-making priority, there are a few hotels that will offer breakfast downtown. If you require breakfast to be included in your stay, it will be an additional cost – BOA’s Housing Bureaus Administrator, cmcglobal (Laura Jackson – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 317-635-4755) can assist in setting up options for you.
● Consider parking and bus parking as you fill out the housing preference form. Suburban properties will generally have room to accommodate buses and trucks at little to no additional cost. Downtown hotels will not be able to accommodate buses and will charge for overnight vehicle parking.
● Hotel room rate taxes can be referenced on the Housing Guide.

Now that you’ve been introduced to the “what, why and how” regarding Bands of America’s Housing Bureau, our hope in this first year of transition will result in a better housing experience and success to your group. In keeping total transparency throughout this progression, we openly accept feedback, both positive and constructive. Feel free to reach out to Music for All or cmcglobal as often as you’d like regarding your experience as you continue through the process. Thank you for your continued effort, time and partnership in helping us provide positively life-changing experiences through music for all.


THE FALL 2017 HOUSING TIMELINE

Refer to the information below as they provide key dates for 2017 Super Regional and Grand Nationals Championship housing deadlines (Grand Nationals timeline is listed first followed by Super Regionals).

GRAND NATIONALS

April 3rd, by 5:00 pm EST – GRAND NATIONALS PERFORMANCE DAY AND TIME COMMUNICATION

All Grand Nationals applicants will receive their performance date and time or wait-list status via email. Included will be the Housing Guide and link to the Grand Nationals Housing Preference Form.

Housing Guide: Document presented for use and information that details hotel options including price, location, amenities, and availability.

Grand Nationals Housing Preference Form: Online form that every participating group must complete. This form will allow groups using hotel properties to submit their property preference, room block size and details (number of rooms/room type), and amenities desired. Submission of a Housing Preference Form does not guarantee assignment to a preferred hotel.

April 14th, 11:59 pm EST – GRAND NATIONALS HOUSING PREFERENCE FORM DUE

Housing Preference Form for bands that have a Grand Nationals performance date and time is due for initial housing placement. Group rooming lists are NOT due at this time, only the number of rooms you anticipate needing. Your final rooming list will be due 45 days prior to your arrival date. If your band wishes to have student family and/or friends travel with the group, those rooms should be accounted for when submitting your housing preferences (include the additional family rooms you anticipate needing).

By April 24th, the Housing Bureaus Administrator (cmcglobal) will acknowledge that they have received your housing request, inform you of assigned housing, and/or update you on the status of your request.

Groups that submit preference forms after April 14th will be assigned on a case-by-case basis. Upon receiving a Housing Preference Form, such groups will be contacted by cmcglobal within seven business days to acknowledge receipt and make an assignment and/or inform you of your status.

By May 15th – COMMUNICATION REGARDING HOUSING ASSIGNMENT OR STATUS UPDATE

It is MFA’s and the Housing Bureaus Administrator’s goal to have assigned housing to all bands that provided a Housing Preference Form by April 14. Unassigned bands will receive weekly updates from the Housing Bureaus Administrator until their housing assignment is complete.

Any group that enrolls after May 15th will be communicated within seven business days to review or assign their housing request. After your initial acknowledgement, groups will be communicated with on a weekly basis until your housing is assigned.

Post April 14th Submissions
Reminder: Groups that submitted after April 14th will be assigned housing on a case-by-case basis. After your initial acknowledgement, groups will be communicated with on a weekly basis until your housing is assigned.

After June 1st – Remaining Unused/Unneeded Contracted Rooms Made Available for Individual Bookings (See text block below)
Remaining contracted hotel inventory (not needed or used by groups) will be made available to individuals by September 1. Availability will be updated periodically. We encourage individuals to continue to use the housing portal, as those reservations will still help benefit the programs that Music for All offers and are available at MFA’s contracted group rates.

By September 1st - Our goal is to have the entire group housing process completed by September 1, barring any groups with special placement difficulties, with which the Housing Bureaus Administrator will continue to communicate with (at least weekly) and work to resolve as quickly as possible.

NEXT STEPS FOR GRAND NATIONAL HOUSING

Review the information above alongside the 2017 Grand National Housing Guide (attachment A) and City Map (Attachment B). If your band should receive your Grand Nationals Preliminary performance information, you may begin to fill out the Housing Preference Form by using the link below. This information can also be found on Music for All’s website by going to www.musicforall.org and searching “BOA Housing Bureau.”

Housing Preference Form

ALL PARTICIPATING BANDS MUST RESPOND AND SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING (REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT YOU WILL NEED/USE HOTEL HOUSING). RESPONSES RECEIVED ON OR BEFORE APRIL 14th (11:59 PM EST) WILL RECEIVE PRIORITY PLACEMENT.

Once your group has been placed at a hotel, cmcglobal will send a booking authorization to your group that allows them to book rooms at that property on each your behalf. You will then receive an email confirmation from cmcglobal and their housing system (one email per each room type booked – king, double/double). These confirmation emails will serve as your reference for further housing accessibility:
● Access to the online housing portal where you are able to manage your rooming list and see housing details specific to your group
● Submission of rooming list (due 45 days prior to your arrival) via the online housing portal
● Additions can be made anytime leading up to the event as long as the hotel has the availability.
● You may cancel rooms from your reservations at any time prior to 45 days from your arrival. However, reducing your block by more than 20% could incur a penalty.

Should you have changes to your housing after you are placed in a hotel, those should be communicated with cmcglobal directly up until the week of your arrival. Once you are within a week of arrival, you may contact the hotel directly with any changes.

Cancellations: Please note, cancellation of your booking will need to be made with cmcglobal; please do not cancel with the hotel directly. Cancellation of individual rooms (i.e., a couple of rooms within the block, not the entire booking) is dependent on each property but a good rule of thumb is to make your request at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Please contact cmcglobal if you have any questions regarding cancellation.

SUPER REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
(ST. LOUIS, INDIANAPOLIS, ATLANTA & SAN ANTONIO)

April 14th, by 5:00 pm EST – SUPER REGIONAL PERFORMANCE DAY AND BLOCK TIME COMMUNICATION

All Super Regional Championship applicants will receive their performance day and block time or wait-list status via email. Included will be the Housing Guide and link to the Super Regional Housing Preference Form.

Housing Guide: Document presented for use and information that details hotel options including price, location, amenities, and availability.

Super Regional Housing Preference Form: Online form that every participating group must complete. This form will allow groups using hotel properties to submit their property preference, room block size and details (number of rooms/room type), and amenities desired. Submission of a Housing Preference Form does not guarantee assignment to a preferred hotel.

April 28th, 11:59 pm EST – SUPER REGIONAL HOUSING PREFERENCE FORM DUE

The Housing Preference Form for bands that have been assigned a Super Regional preliminary performance date and time is due for initial housing placement. Group rooming lists are NOT due at this time, only the number of rooms you anticipate needing. Your final rooming list will be due 45 days prior to your arrival date. If your band wishes to have student family and/or friends travel with the group, those rooms should be accounted for when submitting your housing preferences (include the additional family rooms you anticipate needing).

By May 12th, 11:59 pm EST – COMMUNICATION REGARDING HOUSING ASSIGNMENT OR STATUS UPDATED

By May 12th, the Housing Bureaus Administrator (cmcglobal) will acknowledge that they have received your housing request, inform you of assigned housing, and/or update you on the status of your request if housing cannot yet be assigned.

Groups that submit preference forms after April 28th will be assigned on a case-by-case basis. Upon receiving a Housing Preference Form, such groups will be contacted by the Housing Bureau Administer within seven business days to acknowledge receipt and make an assignment and/or inform you of your status.

By June 5th – GOAL FOR COMPLETION OF HOUSING ASSIGNMENTS OR STATUS UPDATE

It is MFA’s and the Housing Bureaus Administrator’s goal to have assigned housing to all bands that provided a Super Regional Housing Preference Form by April 28th completed on or before June 5th. If unassigned bands remain, they will receive weekly updates from the Housing Bureau Administrator until their housing assignment is complete.

Any group that enrolls after June 5th will be communicated within seven business days to assign housing or review the status of their request. Thereafter, unassigned groups will be communicated with on a weekly basis until your housing is assigned.

Post April 28th Request for Housing - Reminder: Groups that submit Housing Preference Form after April 28th will be assigned housing on a case-by-case basis. After your initial acknowledgment, groups will be communicated with on a weekly basis until your housing assignment is complete.

After July 1st – Remaining Unused/Unneeded Contracted Rooms Made Available for Individual Bookings (See text block below)
The Housing Bureau Administrator will begin releasing for individual booking remaining unused or unneeded hotel room under contract to Music for All. Such releases will be made at the discretion of the Housing Bureau Administrator.

By September 1st - Our goal is to have the entire group housing process completed by September 1, barring any groups with special placement difficulties, with which the Housing Bureaus Administrator will continue to communicate with (at least weekly) and work to resolve as quickly as possible.

All remaining contracted hotel inventory (not needed or used by groups) will be made available to individuals by September 1. Availability will be updated periodically. We encourage individuals to continue to use the BOA Housing Bureau portal, as those reservations will still help benefit the programs that Music for All offers and are available at MFA’s contracted group room rates.

NEXT STEPS FOR SUPER REGIONAL HOUSING
(ST. LOUIS, INDIANAPOLIS, ATLANTA & SAN ANTONIO)

Review the information above (Housing Process and Super Regional Timeline). You may begin to fill out the Super Regional Housing Preference Form by using the link below. This information can also be found on Music for All’s website by going to www.musicforall.org and searching “BOA Housing Bureau.”

Housing Preference Form

ALL PARTICIPATING BANDS MUST RESPOND AND SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING (REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT YOU WILL NEED/USE HOTEL HOUSING). RESPONSES RECEIVED ON OR BEFORE APRIL 28th (11:59 PM EST) WILL RECEIVE PRIORITY PLACEMENT.

Once your group has been placed at a hotel, cmcglobal will send a booking authorization to your group that allows them to book rooms at that property on each your behalf. You will then receive an email confirmation from cmcglobal and their housing system (one email per each room type booked – king, double/double). These confirmation emails will serve as your reference for further housing accessibility:
● Access to the online housing portal where you are able to manage your rooming list and see housing details specific to your group
● Submission of rooming list (due 45 days prior to your arrival) via the online housing portal
● Additions can be made anytime leading up to the event as long as the hotel has the availability.
● You may cancel rooms from your reservations at any time prior to 45 days from your arrival. However, reducing your block by more than 20% could incur a penalty.

Should you have changes to your housing after you are placed in a hotel, those should be communicated with cmcglobal directly up until the week of your arrival. Once you are within a week of arrival, you may contact the hotel directly with any changes.

Cancellations: Please note, cancellation of your booking will need to be made with cmcglobal; please do not cancel with the hotel directly. Cancellation of individual rooms (i.e., a couple of rooms within the block, not the entire booking) is dependent on each property but a good rule of thumb is to make your request at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Please contact cmcglobal if you have any questions regarding cancellation.

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Jackson, 317-635-4755 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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