Meeting News - October 6, 2008 - (Page Cover1)

INSIDE THE INDUSTRY Affordable,NBTA,& ASAE p. 4 TRANSPORTATION NBTA’s COO sees air mergers p. 14 TECHNOLOGY StarCite offers hotel-rate info p. 14 NEWSMAKER Lights Out: Craig Smith, president of Freeman Co.’s AV division, retires. page 5 MeetingNews w w w. M e e t i n g N e w s . c o m O c t oJuly 16, 2007 b e r 6, 2008 2009 Industry Outlook Exclusive Research shows planners as optimistic, but financial market meltdown has renewed fears State of the Industry Report What do you think will be the most pressing issues for the meetings industry next year? Budget pressures/ rising meetings costs Increased use of technology instead of faceto-face meetings 28.6% 30.7% 27.1% 22.2% Impact of energy woes 35.0% 27.9% 26.2% 20.4% 22.5% 12.7% 5.1% 8.5% 5.6% 2.9% 3.9% 20% 40% Corporate Planners Association Planners Other Planners Hotels & Resorts DYNAMIC DUO? MARRIOTT UNVEILS TWO ONLINE TOOLS Hotelier will debut website for tracking commission statements and, next year, will introduce a self-paced online training course on aspects of meeting planning. see page 6 International FRANCE IS ON A CAMPAIGN OF WORLD REINFORCEMENT The country is spending $1.4 million on a multilingual blitz to promote itself as a dynamic and well-rounded business travel destination. see page 12 By William Ng 81.7% 81.0% 75.2% Executives’ perception of value of meetings/events Job market/job security for planners Other 0% 60% 80% 100% Source: 392 of MeetingNews survey respondents Just as MeetingNews’ latest meeting planners survey showing a surprisingly resilient outlook for 2009 came in, the financial market crisis seemed to catch many by surprise and raised fears of a deepened and prolonged meetings slump. Before the news on Wall Street hit, nearly 86 percent of 392 meeting planner respondents in MN’s Exclusive Research expected their number of meetings in 2009 would either stay about the same or dip slightly, and most of them (48%) anticipated small attendance rollbacks. Moreover, 63 percent envisioned that planning lead times would not change much. But planners were never in doubt that the coming year would be a challenge. In the MN survey, budget pressures and rising costs remained most critical for nearly 80 percent of planners, far ahead of the unprecedented transportation and weather woes threatening meetings travel, for example. Other trends like ROI continued on page 15 Convention Centers NOLA’S MORIAL CENTER MAKES ‘PUBLIC OFFERING’ Convention center officials deploy the Conference Auditorium as a public concert venue at night, in a move to create more revenue streams. see page 10 BRANSON, MO, CELEBRATES ITS ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY Missouri building and its HQ hotel have created year-round economy for a traditionally summer leisure destination. see page 10 Destination Insider CHICAGO Rosemont Center and meetings venues dodge Midwest deluge that ravaged the rest of Cook County; an events company flies high with a glitzy gala at O’Hare. see page 18 SAN ANTONIO Downtown’s River Walk snakes northward with a 13-mile addition beginning next May; Culinary Institute of America’s Latin programs spice up cuisine. see page 20 CVBs MINNEAPOLIS IS JUICED AFTER REPUBLICAN BASH Meet Minneapolis CEO Melvin Tennant wants to keep the momentum rolling after the huge Republican National Convention. see page 10 Incentive Report CALIFORNIA Wine regions beckon groups for tastings, dinners, as well as “vinotherapies”; Long Beach’s historic ranchos offer meetings spaces and 500-year-plus pedigree. see page 22 Wall Street Puts the Pressure on the Industry What’s bad for the banks is bad for meetings, planners say By Sara J. Welch Volume 32/Number 17/$10.00 As it did with the economy, the September rollercoaster for the financial markets took an immediate toll on the meetings industry—though it was difficult to find planners willing to speak on the record about it. At Lehman Brothers, a “media blackout” was in force on Sept. 16, the day it announced it was being bought by British bank Barclays. Attempts to contact other financial companies yielded similar results. Yet indirect evidence of turmoil within the meetings industry abounded. Dawn Penfold, president of the Meeting Candidate Network—a New York City-based job-search firm for meeting planners—said her phone had been “ringing off the hook” with calls from planners who had lost their continued on page 24

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Meeting News - October 6, 2008