Successful Meetings - April 2008 - (Page 12)

04.08 & ANALYSIS > Industry Trends NEWS Meetings Industry Unaffected by Recession Doldrums Despite trepidation by meeting planners and suppliers over the prospects of a weakening economy, analysts are predicting little negative impact on meetings and events should the nation slip into the recession that many are predicting. “In our forecasts, the first and second quarters of the year are always the weakest,” says Bjorn Hanson, hospitality consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. “So, during this period we’ll find plenty of information about how terrible things are. But the third and fourth quarters of 2008 will be > SUPPLIERS only a little weaker than last year, which Tisch steps down from NYC will make people wonder why they were so & Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 14 negative.” The consensus is that the hotel industry > ON THE RECORD should weather an economic downturn Long Beach, CA Area CVB’s well. Steve Goodling. . . . . PAGE 18 “Like recessions in the past, there may >SUPPLIERS be some slowdown in demand, which will With Open Skies, things are create a decline in occupancy,” says looking up for international Robert Mandelbaum, director of research air travel . . . . . . . . . . . PAGE 19 information services for PKF Hospitality Research, in Atlanta. But he noted that the credit crunch plaguing the home market is having no effect on hotels. Further, inflation combined with a general shortage of hotel rooms in the most desirable markets will keep hotel room rates from slipping. “Of course, that also will increase the cost of meetings,” Mandelbaum adds, which could spell trouble for meeting planners whose companies and budgets might suffer from the soft economy. He says that historically, even in hard times vacationers still tend to travel, while groups tend to shrink in attendance. PKF forecasts hotel occupancy to slip slightly to 62.6 percent this year, but for room rates to continue to grow by 5.6 percent overall during 2008. Rates have climbed every year since 2003, with only a small slowdown in that increase projected over the coming years by PKF. Despite news reports of consumers acting cautiously, and the prospect of businesses reducing travel budgets, “We haven’t seen much of it,” notes Hanson, based in New York City. He indicates that even drive-in meetings, which might be expected to suffer attendance from high gas prices, won’t be severely impacted because prospective attendees have already gotten used to $3-agallon (and higher) prices. Hanson anticipates that by the third quarter the economic stimulus package passed by Congress will begin to have an effect, gas prices will have stabilized, and the cost of credit will continue to fall. Further, he and others see little or no impact on incentive trips, because of the continued imperative in hard times to drive sales with rewards. Also, meeting planners themselves, whether in-house or independent, should be protected to the extent their expertise helps organizations find economies in their meetings spend, he says. But concerns do remain. The major service-sector index—as reported by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), which includes restaurants, travel, banking, construction, and retail, and accounts for about twothirds of the U.S. economy—fell in January, its first decline since the dark days following the terrorist attacks APRIL 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS Inside 12

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - April 2008

Successful Meetings - April 2008
Editor's Note
Industry Trends
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Technology Talk
Personal Success
Websites of the Month
Food & Beverage
On Site
Professional Development
On Site
Professional Development
Miforum Q&A
Beyond the Flames
Reservation for—21,000
Casino Riches
Entertainment Jackpot
Who Needs a Passport?
The International Swing
Around the World in 18 Holes
Places & Spaces
Puerto Rico
Show Special: Washington DC / Frankfurt, Germany

Successful Meetings - April 2008

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