Successful Meetings - September 2008 - (Page 12)

09.08 & ANALYSIS > Industry Trends NEWS Rethinking Regional Meetings Planners are searching for deals such as gas cards and free parking in order to mitigate higher transportation costs for drive-to meetings. Average gas prices have stayed solidly over the $4 mark this summer. If crude oil hits $200 a barrel, once considered unthinkable but now more than likely, gas prices would hover around $7 a gallon. The effect on the American car culture, and subsequently on drive-to meetings, would be devastating. “I’m finding two things related to fuel > SUPPLIER NEWS prices and the economy generally: Dolce shifts focus from Greater consideration for not holding pure conference centers to meetings at all or replacing them with hotels and resorts . . . PAGE 16 webinars/conference calls. And, separate> TECHNOLOGY ly, when we do hold meetings (such as StarCite unveils new tool forums or industry courses), we’re holding for bookings. . . . . . . . PAGE 18 twice as many, recognizing that the decision to participate in even free events > ASSOCIATION NEWS depends on the cost to travel there—so DMAI partners with the more locations, the greater the chance . . PAGE 21 that they’ll participate,” says Cindy Butts, CEO of the Maine Association of Realtors (MAR) and author of the association management blog AE on the Verge. “Maine is large, so there are sometimes large distances to drive-to meetings.” At June’s Affordable Meetings show in Long Beach, CA, planners “were willing to shop harder to find a destination that could accommodate their budgets for this year and next,” says Bob Gilbert, president and CEO of show organizer Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). And “destinations and hotels were responding by offering more value dates than in years past.” Anticipating a drop in demand due to high fuel prices, many hotels and venues have begun to offer incentives such as gas cards and free parking to attract regional business. In July, Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced it would offer $25 gas credits and reduced rates through September 30 at more than 100 properties in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Southeast regions. The offer is good for Thursday through Sunday and requires a two-night minimum stay. Conference center chain Benchmark Hospitality International is offering a complete meeting package at the Chattanoogan Hotel in Chattanooga, TN, with reduced room rates and a $25 gas card for all attendees. North of the border, 18 Canadian properties of Marriott International are offering free overnight parking and $25 gas cards for each night’s stay. “I don’t know if gas cards would make a difference for SEPTEMBER 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS Inside 12

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

Successful Meetings - September 2008
Editor's Note
Industry Trends
Supplier News
Association News
Corporate Meetings
Independent Planners
Management Matters
Meetings Law
Mouth for Sale
Planner Spotlight
On Site
On Site
Tools of the Trade
Where All That Glitters May Bring Gold
Stepping Up in Class
Going for the Green
10 Great Drive-To Destinations
Charter Members
Night at the Museum
Places & Spaces
Charleston and Savannah
Los Angeles
Rocky Mountain Resorts

Successful Meetings - September 2008