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.”