September FOCUS

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

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.


Library Archives

 

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

Coming up in December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.