HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

September FOCUS: Hotel Group Meetings

 
September, 2020

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.


This month's feature articles...

Rob  Adams

The global economy collapsed and the meetings industry along with it. Neither economists nor event professionals could have predicted the devastation to our industry. Nonetheless, there is growing optimism for 2021 and beyond. Through hybrid events and restoring confidence in the in-person meeting, event professionals reinvent the industry so we can return to human interaction, connected by a shared purpose. READ MORE

John Washko

Meetings Professionals are still adapting and evolving in these uncharted waters presented by the global pandemic and the MICE industry requires comprehensive health & safety planning, strategies and execution. This article discusses the crucial elements of a COVID-19 Resource Center, with the goal of ensuring safe & successful events for group planners of all types in the midst of such unique and unprecedented challenges. READ MORE

Chris McAndrews

In this piece about recovery from pandemic setbacks, Chris McAndrews, Vice President of Marketing – Hospitality Cloud, discusses the importance of digital. He notes that it is easy to see the case for technology in the immediate term with the predominance of virtual events, but that the case is equally strong as the meetings, events and hospitality industries return to in-person events. READ MORE

David Peckinpaugh

Maritz Global Events' President David Peckinpaugh shares foundational elements for executing successful events today and in a post-COVID world. Leveraging behavioral science, data and each organization's specific goals, learn how we can design experiences that help clients and their guest feel safe and comfortable in their return to events. This article highlights rethinking of traditional strategies along with new ideas to execute safe and secure events. READ MORE

Allison Kinsley

We are taking time to optimistically and critically rethink our meetings, including challenging their essential components, what may be dispensable, and what we've been missing. A meeting planner and small business owner shares her experience on COVID's effects on the planning community, why government needs to pay attention to letting meetings take place, how to get people back to in-person events, and why the pandemic is good for the planning industry. READ MORE

Kaaren Hamilton

As the meetings and events industry responds to the pandemic, hotels have implemented industry leading best practices to gain event planner confidence. A key component of the events industry, hotels have to quickly pivot and adjust all phases of the buying process, execution, and operational guidelines to meet safely. Keeping the events industry moving forward and delivering on the value proposition of meetings, in smaller and groups, RLH Hotels are delivering. READ MORE

Annette Gregg

The meeting and event industry faces one of the toughest times in its history. Meeting Professionals International's quarterly Meetings Outlook survey predicted the lowest meeting and event growth on record, with only 36% predicting favorable business conditions over the next year. For organizers that are planning live events during this pandemic, we have a powerful opportunity to demonstrate how events can happen safely. READ MORE

Amy Draheim

Hospitality expert and podcast host Amy Draheim offers three key tips for hotel sales teams. From zoning in on your audience, to the latest ideas in tech, to learning how to communicate, Amy outlines how to approach communications both during and after the pandemic, to keep your property top of mind. READ MORE

Frank Passanante

Travel is an unstoppable force, but especially in the early days of COVID-19, the industry was pacing at its slowest speeds in history. Despite the bleak numbers, throughout 2020, Hilton has remained hyper-focused on the company's purpose and over-delivering on customer needs. Frank Passanante, senior vice president, Hilton Worldwide Sales – Americas, takes readers through this unique period, reiterating the importance of leadership through listening and innovation. READ MORE

Kate Keisling

No facet of the hospitality and travel industry has been hit harder than the meetings and events sector by COVID-19 restrictions and safeguards worldwide. Limitations on group sizes and widespread cancelations of conferences have effectively put venue businesses into an unforeseen hibernation. In this article, Kate Keisling will explore how M&E providers are faced with the reality that their business will bounce back at a slower rate. READ MORE

Rod Cameron

In a world struggling with how to balance COVID-19 threats with the havoc it is wreaking on the overall economy, health and safety are the first imperatives. But right behind is an urgent need to communicate why business events can and should be utilized as key tools for supporting broad-based economic recovery and renewal. READ MORE

Justin Taillon

Virtual meetings and events have been a trend in recent years. Yet, this niche area has grown in an exponential manner in 2020 by necessity. Industry-wide, the trend is not expected to be short-lived. From the perspective of meeting and event planners, moving events online now while planning for more long-term shifts in the marketplace has proven to be a difficult endeavor. READ MORE

Mark Heymann

In today's world, nearly everything can be done through our phones. In that sense, hospitality companies need to understand how to leverage mobile technology. For hotels, the use of mobile tech can exponentially increase the efficiency and effectiveness of day-to-day operations. At one point, hospitality solely relied on human-to-human interaction. However, those days are long gone. READ MORE

Eric Price

The COVID-19 pandemic has businesses considering large-scale reconstruction and redesign to help combat the spread of the virus and protect against future health crises. Destination hot-spots are considering how best to protect their future customers. What might the hotel redesign process look like? How much could it cost, and how long might it take? How can hotels best utilize open space and fresh air going forward? READ MORE

Mostafa Sayyadi

The true basis of leadership was built upon a model that generated two sides of an X and Y axis. On one side is the concept of leadership that creates change through taking a process-oriented and the other as more of a relationship-oriented approach. Based upon the management versus leadership idea, a manager always has to be a leader but a leader does not always have to be a manager. READ MORE

Brenda Fields

The top performing hotel Sales Department will look very different than the model over the past 20 years. With the abrupt loss of demand and loss of traditional markets, it is critical to maximize the role of Direct Sales. Growing market share will be the focus to generate revenues and the successful hotelier in a competitive marketplace will quickly evaluate to devise and execute plans to impact market share. READ MORE

Randy Shelly

The hospitality industry took one of the biggest financial hits during the pandemic, but it's in the position to make one of the biggest comebacks, including winning back market share from homestay offerings. Customer confidence will drive repeat, continuous traffic, and as leisure travel begins to pick up, hotels are in a competition for cleanliness to earn the trust of their guests through thoughtful upgrades and renovations. READ MORE

John Welty

For some guests, the presence of a valet at the front door of a hotel is as expected as a bed in a guest room. And for hoteliers, implementing such a program may not seem to require much investment or planning. What they must keep in mind, however, is that valet programs don't come without risks, particularly in the wake of COVID-19. READ MORE

Bruce Wright

Will hotels of the future be operated by a robotic workforce? New doesn't automatically mean futuristic and hi-tech doesn't necessarily translate to visionary. People have an innate need for human touch and community especially in times of crisis when physical connection is off-limits. A completely contactless hospitality experience isn't a long-term solution, but how do we find the proverbial 'sweet spot' between high-tech and human touch? READ MORE

Christine Samsel

Should employers do drug tests, and what are the implications of a positive test? Is it preferable to implement a single, blanket policy, or vary the policy depending on employees' roles within the organization? Are employers required to accommodate an employee's use of medical marijuana? Attorneys at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck discuss the employment implications of cannabis/marijuana for leaders in the hospitality industry. READ MORE

Maryann Prestia

Even in the United States, human trafficking is a widespread problem that often goes unnoticed. Due to its illicit nature, many businesses fail to realize sex trafficking and labor trafficking, the two most common forms of the crime, may actually be happening right under their noses. For hoteliers, this poses a unique risk that requires vigilance, a keen eye and training to recognize. READ MORE

Brian McCallen

When Greg Norman established his golf design firm in 1987, he did it with a mandate to preserve landscapes, respect Mother Nature and create enjoyable golf courses. The Greg Norman Signature golf course at Rancho San Lucas opened in February 2020, and is a multi-themed design that explores coastal and desert environments and offers a thrilling challenge from each set of tees. READ MORE

Mark Ricketts

Outstanding communications has always been an essential hallmark of a successful hospitality organization - from property level and the host community to the C-Suite. The global pandemic, with its many disruptions, has further challenged us to maintain positive connections within the organization and to our many audiences. Done properly, when we sustain connections at such a stressful time, knowledge takes the place of uncertainty and realistic hope displaces fear. READ MORE

Glenn Jones

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck this spring, Bermuda officials knew shutting down the tiny British Overseas Territory's borders was necessary to protect the well-being of island residents. But they also knew the impact on local businesses - both big and small - could be devastating. In response, the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) launched a series of initiatives to support Bermudians in the here and now, as well as inspire future travelers. READ MORE

Kristi  Dickinson

The spa and wellness industry has changed forever. In the most dramatic way possible, recent events have proven that our Western medical system cannot save us. The businesses that will thrive in the wake of this tragedy are those that perform science-based therapies with proven efficacy. In this article we examine time-tested traditional spa therapies and how they can be adapted to modern applications. READ MORE

Coming up in November 2021...

Architecture & Design: Wellness is Key


Like every other facet of hotel operations, architecture and design firms are adapting their work to ensure the safety and well-being of both guests and staff. New ways to bring Wellness into hotel spaces are being explored and these solutions are taking on many forms. Hotel designs are incorporating more open floor plans, open air spaces, high ceilings, outdoor areas and operable walls into their spaces. Guests no longer want to be packed into tight areas. More "biophilic" elements are also being incorporated, offering guests the sense of being outdoors. Another trend is the reimagining of guest rooms to support remote work capabilities. Some hotels are converting empty guest rooms into office spaces, complete with effective lighting and suitable backgrounds for video conferencing. Dedicated Zoom Rooms are also becoming increasingly popular. The main goal is to provide guests with a positive experience in a space that feels safe and comfortable. These are some of the architecture and design subjects that will be covered in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.