Continuing Hotel Seller’s Market Affecting Meeting Planners

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Evidence points to the fact that the hotel seller’s market is still a major issue for meeting planners.

Though there has been talk of a softening of the hotel seller’s market, the latest report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) U.S. shows that the country’s hotel performance improved during the first quarter of 2017.

In fact, hotel demand grew at the strongest quarterly rate since the first quarter of 2015, with modest growth in both occupancy and ADR, proof that the hotel seller’s market is still a harsh reality for planners. The caveat: It depends on the specific destination, with some cities showing a weakening, especially those hurt by the Zika scare.

Shireen Moore, senior vice president of marketing at Creative Group, reported getting “turn-downs or pressure from hotels to commit and limited hold times” in Hawaii, the Caribbean and Ireland for programs in 2019 and 2020. “For example, we are sourcing Ireland for a 2019 program and we are getting pressure from a top incentive hotel in Dublin that our dates have multiple other group proposals out and that they cannot hold without a signed commitment. Our dates aren’t flexible, so we are using our relationship with the hotel to convince them to hold for our client.

“What we can do is advise clients to source and be ready to make decisions further out and/or be flexible on dates. We can also help them to focus in on the most important concessions and needs (meeting space, room rate, dates) to ensure we get them what is most valuable.”

At Kellogg, Cecile Mutch, GLP, GTP, senior director, corporate sourcing, said that HelmsBriscoe, which does sourcing for her company, has reported short-lead availability to be harder and harder to find. “We lean on our NSOs to champion our addendum requirements, and our hotel partners have been great to work with.” It’s the same at ADP, where Deb Ryan-Pelletier, manager, global hotel program and strategic sourcing, has seen  “a very tight situation in key cities for short-term (within 18 months) for large programs. We are looking at alternate catering only and convention centers, also day conference centers like Convene in New York City.”


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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.