Meeting News - June 22, 2009 - (Page 17)

From the editors of Business Travel News Travel Dashboard became a standard offering in Omni meetings contracts, according to the company. “We’re making a permanent change in our group contracts,” Omni vice president of corporate communications Caryn Kboudi said. "Typically, we would have included this, but you would have had to have asked for it.” Additionally, Omni also instituted a policy guaranteeing a response to meetings inquiries within two hours, be it by phone, e-mail, electronic RFP or through a third party, according to the company. If Omni misses that window, the planner can request a 5 percent discount off the master account. Omni is one of several companies to add incentives designed to boost meetings demand to counter the economic downturn. Omni already has waived attrition fees for meeting contracts that were booked and completed this year. Other recent hotel company meetings offerings include Hilton Hotels Corp.’s new incentive structure for meeting planners and Dolce Hotels and Resorts discounting its customized meeting packages. r —Michael B. Baker Omni Refunding Cancellation, Attrition Fees If Space Resold Omni Hotels last month launched a meetings contracting initiative that makes a resell clause automatic to meeting buyers and a policy of quicker sales team response to meeting requests for proposals. Resell clauses, which give meeting planners a refund on cancellation or attrition charges if the hotel is able to sell the unused rooms that were blocked out for the meeting, BTN’s Business Travel Survey: Assessing The End Of The Hotel Seller’s Market Analysts warned that the seller’s market that had dominated the lodg- percent and average daily rate by 3.6 percent. ing industry for several years would ebb in 2008, but none predicted the Few markets globally are bucking those trends—outside of a few sharp U-turn the industry took, leaving buyers in an unexpectedly strong emerging markets, like Abu Dhabi—which makes this lodging industry negotiating position amid falling rates, revenues and occupancies. downturn one for the history books, said Sue Brush, senior vice presi“2008 started off very well until the third, dent and global brand leader for Westin almost the fourth quarter,” said Isadore Hotels & Resorts. The hotel industry has Top 2008 Hotel Co. Performers Sharp, founder, chairman and CEO of Four always been one of up and down cycles, said By Revenue Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “We assumed it Brush—a 30-year industry veteran who is was going to be a slowdown. We had planned retiring at the end of this year—but the globInterContinental $19,100,000 to be a little more conservative in our foreal scope of this downturn makes it unique. Marriott $13,000,000 casting. It was the latter part of the fourth “It’s not as finite,” Brush said. “The Gulf Accor $8,500,000 quarter when things fell off the cliff.” War started and ended. Sept. 11 was one catHilton* $8,500,000 That cliff dive ended with every hotel tier astrophic event. This one seems to be more Best Western $7,800,000 from luxury to economy in the red in terms pervasive, and there's more uncertainty By Number Of Hotels of year-over-year change in occupancy and around it.” Wyndham 7,093 revenue per available room for the full year, That uncertainty extends as buyers prepare Choice 5,827 according to Smith Travel Research. to enter into negotiations for 2010 hotel rates. InterContinental 4,186 Overall occupancy was down 4.2 percent, They already have been renegotiating the rates Best Western 4,018 and revenue per available room was down 1.9 they set for 2009, before the extent of the Accor 3,982 percent, though hotels did manage to increase lodging industry downturn was evident. average daily rates by 2.4 percent for the year. Some buyers found themselves in a lookingBy Number Of Rooms Performance in the first quarter of this year glass world as 2009 began: group rates near or InterContinental 619,851 has not been much better, with overall above transient rates in certain markets, disWyndham 592,880 RevPAR plummeting 17.7 percent, occupancounted leisure rates cheaper than corporate Marriott 560,681 cy down 10.9 percent and average daily rate negotiated rates and hotels that previously Hilton 547,318 down 7.7 percent, according to Smith Travel shunned negotiations suddenly returning Accor 478,975 Research. For the full year, RevPAR is expectphone calls. r *BTN estimate ed to drop by 9.8 percent, occupancy by 6.5 —Michael B. Baker June 22, 2009 MeetingNews 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - June 22, 2009

Meeting News - June 22, 2009
Collier County Insert
Meetings Spotlight
MeetingNews Research
Association Watch
Construction Cites
Meeting People
Event Profile
Travel Dashboard
Dateline: Bermuda
Dateline: New York
South Regional
Las Vegas Insert

Meeting News - June 22, 2009