If you’re planning an association meeting or conference any time soon, you’ll want to be on the lookout for “room block pirates.” These are housing companies that call your participants pretending to be affiliated with your group to try to get them to book a room outside of your room block.
Unfortunately, one of our technology association clients fell prey to such a room block piracy scam recently. We were managing the details for a conference this client was hosting in Vancouver not long ago, when the phony housing company called one of the scheduled speakers to say that the room block was almost sold out. The pirate encouraged the person to make a reservation over the phone to secure one of the last rooms. The speaker complied, giving his credit card information, only to find out later that the company was a fake and he didn’t have a valid reservation after all. This meant that the speaker was out the room cost on his credit card and was also left with no lodgings.