The increased demand for face-to-face conventions and meetings has been well-documented. But new trends data underscores that fact, and reveals that demand is outpacing supply. So what does this mean for meeting professionals in 2015 and beyond?
Executives and planners are encouraged to wisely review and possibly reset your room blocks now, on business previously booked, to ensure availability for attendees. Also, reach out and seek new program options earlier for the better values, dates, and terms.
We’ve seen a significant growth in the number of meetings booked, and the number of attendees, at our ALHI Member hotels and resorts. In fact, 64% of our meeting professional clients booked more programs in 2014 than the prior year, with 94% booking the same number or more, and 68% experiencing an increase in the number of attendees. Significantly, 43% of our clients anticipate managing more programs in 2015 than in 2014, with 97% expecting the same or more. And 51% are expecting larger meetings in 2015, by the number of attendees.
Many groups actually ‘busted through their blocks,’ with much higher attendance than originally anticipated when the original block was made. With the economy strengthening, increased demand from the business travel and leisure travel markets, and not very much new construction in the upper-upper tier and luxury-level sectors of the hotel industry, we are advising our clients to closely evaluate their room blocks now so that they are not caught in an undesirable position, with more attendees wanting and/or needing to attend than they can accommodate.
We also advise that you select venues that can accommodate the potential growth in attendance.
With the current trend of a “seller’s market,” there just may not be availability for your increased guest room and/or meeting room needs when your program arrives. So, adjust your program blocks as needed to avoid last-minute challenges for all involved.
Also, prudence says to act soon to secure the venue(s), dates, rates, and terms and conditions that will best serve your organization. Clearly as the market has shifted, larger room blocks that are achievable based upon the group’s program trends, warrant more meeting and function space accordingly. Short suiting room blocks may restrict larger spaces for programs that you may need later.
So, act soon, consider multi-year agreements, and get your dates confirmed into 2018 (and beyond) for the best deals, as the current seller’s market is already projected to continue until at least through 2017.
For those who are planning short-term programs, there are still some good value opportunities that are still available. Work with your trusted Global Sales Organization (GSO) professional to find out the best opportunities to suit your programs’ needs. Have them serve as your advocate to secure your desired venue(s), dates, and good values.
As demand for program space continues to grow, there may be availability challenges for planners. Prudence says to consider the laws of supply and demand, and act soon to best serve your organization.
David Gabri is CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), the leading independent Global Sales Organization serving the North American meetings and incentive marketplace for its membership of over 170 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts worldwide, plus 9 luxury cruise ships, and 100 DMC service providers in over 65 countries. Contact your nearest ALHI Global Sales Office, or call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-2544, and visit www.alhi.com .