Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 22 2015

3 Key Trends That Will Impact Your Housing Block

By David McMillin

There are plenty of questions about your room block swirling through your mind. Will it be easier to secure the perfect property during the perfect date range? Can you expect any more bargaining power when negotiating rates and concessions? Are you competing with more planners? New research conducted among 60 properties in Marriott’s Convention & Resort Network reveals the answers. Here’s a look at three key trends that will impact your housing block.

1) Group business is getting bigger than ever.

Remember when companies were cutting back on convention travel? Those days are fading further into the rearview.

“Demand is exceeding pre-recession levels, which we see as increased confidence in the economy and an investment that companies are making in their employees,” Mike Wainwright, Vice President, Sales Strategy, Convention & Resort Network, said.

The coveted corporate and incentive categories are leading the charge. According to the survey, 78 percent of hotels are seeing an increase in corporate leads. Overall, that’s good news for the industry, but it’s likely to create some challenges for non-profit association planners competing with for-profit companies.

SEE ALSO: 4 Tips For Effective Hotel Contract Negotiations

2) Pick-up reports are looking like A+ reading material.

Worried that the next pick-up report is going to deliver sluggish numbers on filling those contracted rooms? It looks like fewer planners are dealing with lackluster housing performance. An impressive 60 percent of US resorts in the Marriott research have been experiencing groups picking up more room nights than their original blocks, and approximately 50 percent of the properties indicate seeing an increase in the overall number of meeting attendees.

SEE ALSO: A Win-Win Strategy For Your Hotel Room Block Negotiations

3) Your planning peers are looking further into the future.

Thinking about waiting until six months out to secure your space? Think again. As more groups fill more rooms, planning for success means planning early.

“We are now seeing an increase of large groups booking in 2017, 2018 and beyond, with many of the Marriott Convention and Resort Network hotels confirming groups in 2024 and 2025,” Wainwright said. “Planners are changing their strategies and now are looking much further ahead in order to secure desired dates, locations and patterns.”

The hotel booking process isn’t the only piece of your meeting that will continue to evolve; the food and beverages you serve will change, too. Click here to check out some of the F&B catering trends taking over conferences in 2015.

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