Meeting News - October 19, 2009 - (Page 8)

News Marriott Optimistic Despite RevPAR Loss Marriott International this month reported revenue per available room dropped more than 20 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2009, although CEO J.W. Marriott Jr. said the declines were less than expected. Worldwide RevPAR for comparable company-operated properties dropped 23.5 percent during the quarter. RevPAR in international markets was down 28.9 percent, spurred by a 22.7 percent drop in average daily rate. Those markets were hurt not only by the economy but also by unfavorable comparisons with last year’s Olympics in Beijing and concerns about the H1N1 virus, according to Marriott. Domestically, systemwide RevPAR was down 19.3 percent. The company’s full-service and luxury hotels— the flagship Marriott brand, RitzCarlton and Renaissance—saw a 14.6 percent decline in rate. “Revenue per available room across our North American system declined less than expected during the third quarter as leisure travelers responded to attractive promotions and great values in our hotels,” Marriott said in a statement. “With solid cost controls, our hotels translated better than expected occupancy rates to stronger than expected fee revenue and earnings.” Marriott executive vice president and chief financial officer Carl Berquist said in a conference call to investors that the hotel company’s group RevPAR was down 23 percent during the quarter, and group room rates dropped 8 percent, year over year. “Cancellations and attrition were less of a problem than in the first half of 2009, but last-minute bookings in the quarter for the quarter were relatively few,” 8 MeetingNews October 19, 2009 properties, he said. according to Berquist. Marriott expects declines to conMost group business during the tinue but sees them quarter came from moderating slightly product launches by in the fourth quarpharmaceutical comter. The hotel companies, he said. pany is forecasting There also are RevPAR to decline signs that “financial between 13 percent firms are tiptoeing in and 16 percent in with small gatherNorth America and ings” for training between 16 percent purposes, Berquist and 18 percent intersaid. One of the nationally. clearest signs in that J.W. Marriott Jr. For 2010, the comsegment is a boost in occupancy for Marriott’s New York pany said the pricing environment would remain difficult. For the full year, the company expects worldwide revenue per available room to be flat to down 5 percent and for international markets to strengthen quicker than North American markets. Marriott added 79 new properties, or 10,380 rooms, to its portfolio during the quarter, with 8,600 of those rooms in limited-service properties in North America. The company expects to open more then 33,000 rooms during 2009 and between 25,000 and 30,000 rooms in 2010. r —Michael B. Baker Meeting Post American Express, Maritz Further Maxvantage Partnership American Express and Maritz continue to advance the implementation of their joint strategic meetings management offering, with a Maxvantage spokesperson this month saying that the organization is in place, clients are transitioned and the firms will continue to merge their technology platforms through the end of the year. Through the new partnership, Maxvantage has become the single strategic meetings management offering for American Express Corporate Meetings Solutions clients and Maritz strategic meetings management customers. “Obviously, the business right now is focused on getting the clients switched over to Maxvantage,” according to a Maxvantage spokesperson. “Sept. 1 was the golive date, and we definitely hit that target. There are also technology platforms and systems that will be integrated, and that’s expected to be continued through the end of the year.” The companies would not disclose the total number of Maxvantage clients, only saying that in aggregate they plan 10,000 meetings annually. American Express and Maritz on June 1 announced the plan to share resources, combine product sets, shift employees and jointly develop and integrate technologies to offer the market a single “end-to-end” meetings management offering. Through the agreement, American Express handles sales, marketing and client management, while Maritz covers operations, technology and supplier relations. The spokesperson said the companies completed all organizational transitions by Sept. 1, which included shifting some American Express employees to Maritz, and vice versa, to support the alliance’s division of labor. r Worktopia Augments Platform With Remote Conferencing Content Meetings management technology provider Worktopia this month implemented new capabilities in its platform that enable meeting planners to shop and book remote conferencing facilities in more than 400 hotel properties and business and conference centers. Worktopia CEO John Arenas in July told MeetingNews that the new Universal Meeting SolutionVirtual Edition technology lets meeting venues upload their inventory and note which rooms and facilities have remote conferencing technology, and on which systems and communications standards it operates. In June, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts led the push among the largest hotel chains to begin equipping some of their properties with public telepresence facilities. Worktopia now links to remote conferencing facility content from several hotel chains and meeting venues, including Regus and Alliance business centers. r

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - October 19, 2009

Meeting News - October 19, 2009
Meeting Post
Meetings Spotlight
Event Profile
Construction Cites
Meeting People
Association Watch
Gaming Destinations
Dateline: Florida
South Regional
Dateline: Guadalajara
Travel Dashboard

Meeting News - October 19, 2009