Many social events have a guest list that includes out of towners. Like most people living in the Washington DC area, you may not be from here originally so your guest list may include more out of town guests than most. In that case, you will want to set up a block of rooms at a convenient hotel. Here are a few terms the hotel may use in the course of contracting and managing your room block.
Pick-up is the number of rooms from your block that are actually reserved by your guests. You may contract a block of 20 rooms but only 8 guests actually reserve rooms. You would have a pick-up of 8.
Most hotels start an initial social block around 20 rooms – even when the client indicates that they may require significantly more rooms. This is due to experience with average social blocks that traditionally have a low pick-up. They may “book” 20 rooms on your contract but in their own system, they may net the block down a certain percentage, sometimes even as low as 50% so your “blocked” or “netted” number of rooms may be as few as 10 – 16 in reality. Ask about this up front so you can monitor pick-up on your own to avoid having that next guest call for a room and be told that the block is sold out.
Attrition is the loss of guest room pick-up from the initial block. Often, the attrition percentage on your contract will also be the netted number of rooms. Say you start with a contracted 20 rooms per night. Per your contract and hotel policy, you may be responsible for a minimum number of rooms perhaps 16 rooms per night. 16 rooms per night will likely also be the netted number of rooms entered into the sales system for reservations purposes as well. Any pick-up lower than 16 may activate an attrition clause from your contract requiring you to pay the difference. So, if you only pick up 12 rooms per night, you pay some penalty up to the value of 4 rooms per night – the difference between the 16 minimum rooms per night you agreed to and the 12 you actually got.
Many hotels waive attrition penalties on social blocks but often only if your block remains within their approved maximum range. If you require a greater number of rooms at the outset, they may inform you that attrition will not be waived in that case. Additionally, attrition may apply more frequently to hotels in resort areas or during peak demand time such as local graduations, inauguration, Memorial weekend, etc.