Meeting News - March 1, 2010 - (Page 28)

Citywide Meetings the corporate sector, which books on a shorterterm basis, holds smaller meetings and still is continued from page 1 weary from the economic fallout. “Some destinations held out for too much coroffering to try to get business on the books for six COO Jerry Horan. The company’s January book- porate short-term business that never materialand seven years into the future,” said San Diego ings were up 32 percent compared with the same ized,”said Horan.“A lot of hotels and destinations Convention Center Corp. senior vice president of month in 2009. are thinking to get association business on the sales Andy Mikschl. “Planners see those deals Planners also are booking more multiyear city- books and then build from there on a short-term from other destinations, so it’s forcing all destina- wide destination deals either on a rotating basis basis with corporate.” tions to become that much more competitive.” or for consecutive years. Some see the practice as The Armed Forces Communications and ElecAs competition intensifies, cities a win for all parties involved, as tronics Association this year has renegotiated and associations are scrambling to planners get favorable rates and with contracted hotels for upcoming events and sign business, especially with topdestinations, hotels and convention in all cases garnered lower rates through 2013, tier destinations courting business centers lock in business. even below government per diems, said events historically relegated to locations “Everybody is trying to help manager Pat Holmes. Its largest meeting, the with smaller convention centers everybody,” according to Joe LandWarNet Conference, is being held in Tampa and less hotel inventory. Forster, president and COO of this year and takes up 3,000 to 4,000 room nights “There is so much demand for third-party site selection and meet- on average. the business that there is a lot of ings procurement company HPN Perhaps the largest available concession is free feeling out there that,‘we just want Global. “The booking pace is still or deeply discounted convention center space. business on the books because who trying to catch up, and getting “Almost every large citywide RFP is now requestknows what is going to be out there those future years is a good way to ing highly discounted or waived convention cenif we don’t get this one,’ ” said San Diego’s Mikschl do it. Clients are very receptive to it, ter space,” said White. “They don’t care if it is Mikschl. as everybody is looking to squeak waived by the municipality or the CVB has the Association for Career and Technical Educa- every little value out right now.” funds to cover that or if hotels contribute to offtion meetings manager Marguerite Leisham said Booking too far in advance, however, could setting the rate. That won’t go away soon, even as cities that the organization had never done busi- lead to more convention center space and room times get better economically. The thermometer ness with before because of the size of its Annual nights than will be needed years is getting reset.” Convention and Career Tech Expo now are con- down the road. Some planners who Some locations have expressed tacting her. The association just completed nego- booked far in advance during the concern over the need to heavily tiations for the 4,000-attendee meeting in 2013, 2001-2002 downturn dealt with discount or eliminate fees for conwhich will be held in Las Vegas. It resided at the those pitfalls this year as attendance vention center facilities. “It’s a colGaylord Opryland & Convention Center in dramatically fell. lective decision that any DMO or Nashville in 2009. “That stark reality was a slap in convention and visitors bureau has Leisham said the association is trying to book the face to a lot of meeting planto weigh,” said Christine Shimasaahead of the return of demand and subsequent ners,” said Salt Lake Convention ki, managing director of Destinarate hikes. “If we book out to 2014, we probably and Visitors Bureau vice president tion Marketing Association Interwill have more opportunities for concessions of sales Mark White. “As a result, national’s than we will when the economy turns back up planners and the boards took a very “They’re weighing the upside of again,” she said. conservative perspective and said, Salt Lake’s White the economic benefit to the region One concession won by Leisham and others, ‘We better not book out 10 years. against the concessions.” never before deeply discounted let alone free, is We don’t know what our attendance will be or “With more convention centers coming online, Internet access at convention centers, which what the economy will be like or if membership large hotels with convention center facilities Leisham said can run as high as $40,000 for the will go up or down. We should be safe and book opening and demand staying steady at best, it association’s annual meeting. only as far out as we need to get the kind of city starts to set this reality of pricing for the center Meetings management firm ConferenceDirect and room block that we need.’” that is no longer a money-making endeavor,” is recommending its clients at least sign letters of Suppliers see citywide meetings, which tend to White said. “It is a loss leader to serve as the ecointent for space and room blocks in their desired be hosted by associations, large marketing com- nomic magnet to get the convention to town, and destinations this year before demand rises, said panies or exhibition organizers, as less fluid than the community realizes revenue in other ways.” ❍ Planners Securing Citywide Concessions 28 MeetingNews March 1, 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - March 1, 2010

Meeting News - March 1, 2010
Meetings Spotlight
Event Profile
Meeting People
Travel Dashboard
Construction Cites
MeetingNews Research
Citywide Meetings
Dateline: Florida
Mid-America Regional
Dateline: Tennessee

Meeting News - March 1, 2010