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Optimizing Accommodations

Challenge

A huge logistics challenge for the PMC each year is housing and managing the needs of over 4,000 participants. The two-day event requires limited dormitory, tents and other rooms to be fully occupied, often with several people rooming together. The staff also needs to accommodate individuals, families, returning alumni, heavy hitters, riders or volunteers with special access or dietary needs.

The matching of compatible roommates requires consideration of various factors and preferences including:

  • preference to room with specific friends/family
  • same-sex roommate preference
  • team members often prefer to room together
  • age-based preferences (e.g., older people prefer first-floor accommodations)

Solution


MWare met the challenge by developing a three-step application to:

  • gather rider preferences
  • manage inventory of rooms
  • automatically match and assign roommates to available rooms based on a highest-yield algorithm

A roommate preference page in the participants myPMC site allows participants to choose which site they want to be housed at (ship, dorm or tent) limited by the route they have chosen, choose same-gender or not, preferred roommate(s) and/or room type. Preferences are maintained year to year for the participants. The matching process then takes into account the various preferences of each participant while giving priority to alumni. Once the assignments have been finalized and approved, personalized emails are sent by the system to each participant with their room number and named roommates.


Result


  • Roommate matching used to take 3 people a whole week to do, now it takes one person one day to do. This has resulted in a 93% reduction in staff time needed to manage the process.
  • The PMC successfully manages the accommodation of over 4,000 participants in various locations on the overnight of the event
  • Participant complaints about undesirable or unexpected assignments have been greatly reduced.