WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 17, 2012 – Courtesy Associates introduced its new consulting services, designed to assist hotels, conference and convention centers with being added to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule. The GSA Schedule establishes efficient and responsible purchasing practices between commercial vendors and the U.S. federal government. Courtesy Associates, celebrating its 65th anniversary this month, is a wholly owned subsidiary of SmithBucklin, the world's largest association management and professional services company.
The GSA oversees the business of the U.S. federal government and ensures federal purchasers receive cost-effective, high-quality products and services from vendors. To be listed on the GSA Schedule, vendors must undergo a rigorous application process. Courtesy Associates, with more than 40 years of experience working with the government and within the hospitality industry, is uniquely positioned to assist hotels, conference and convention centers with the GSA Schedule application process as well as leveraging the positive outcomes of working with the government in this controlled environment, including:
- The ability to develop ongoing, direct relationships with government purchasers within an environment of transparency and flexibility.
- Direct access to government RFPs and leads.
- The flexibility to respond quickly and consistently to government RFPs using pre-negotiated and GSA-approved pricing packages that include audio/visual, meals, sleeping room rates and meeting room rental pricing.
- Abbreviated timeframes for being awarded business and simplified contracting, billing and payment processes.
"Many of Courtesy Associates' hotel, conference and convention center partners have expressed a need for education about doing business with the federal government as well as the cumbersome process of getting on the GSA Schedule," said Leslie Thornton, president of Courtesy Associates. "In response, we recruited Elizabeth Perrin, an industry expert in establishing relationships between the government and the meeting and event planning industry, to serve as director of our new consulting services. Thanks to the education and experience Elizabeth's team provides, the time associated with the schedule application process is reduced and clients can expect Courtesy Associates' ongoing help to maximize transparency and accountability in all transactions with the government."
In 2009, FedRooms reported that the government spent $2.5 billion on guest rooms. With an average room night cost of $113, that translates to more than 20 million room nights -- a considerable amount of revenue for the meeting and planning industry. However, recent spending indiscretions for such services resulted in demands for more judicious use of government funds and more cautious selections of hotel conference and convention center vendors.
"While becoming a schedule holder is an involved process, the resulting transparency and risk management are essential for the hospitality and event planning industry to maintain responsible relationships with the government during this new era of increased scrutiny," Perrin said. "Prior to joining the Courtesy Associates team, I served Dolce Hotels and Resorts and worked closely to partner with the GSA who understood the importance of adding hotels to its multiple award schedules. Subsequently, Dolce Hotels and Resorts was the first hotel brand to become a schedule holder and received $1.5 million in sales, from a large federal agency, within its first 30 days on the schedule."
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