Everything is looking up for the meetings industry in 2015, which is a mixed blessing for planners: Group demand is up, but so too are room rates and travel costs. That reliable old supply and demand thing.
“The meeting industry overall appears to be very much ‘back in business,’ ” said Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events in the 2015 Global Meetings Forecast, which predicted that group hotel prices would rise by 4.6 percent, thanks in part to increasing group demand. A recently released PwC lodging forecast projects a 2015 U.S. occupancy of 64.9 percent, the highest since 1984. “Group demand improved significantly in the third quarter, leading to stronger-than-expected occupancy levels,” according to Scott Berman, PwC principal and U.S. hospitality and leisure practice leader. “Despite an evolving supply pipeline, industry demand trends are expected to remain robust, giving confidence to the operating community to drive room rates higher in 2015.”
Add to this rising airfares (5 percent), F&B catering costs (4 percent), audio-visual (3.1 percent) and meeting rooms (2.5 percent), as reported in MPI’s fall Meetings Outlook, which also noted, not surprisingly, that planners are challenged with shorter lead times.
To keep the meetings momentum going in the face of rising costs, American Express predicts an uptick in meeting budgets made possible by a more disciplined approach, with increased scrutiny, transparency and attention to compliance and strategic objectives. In addition, the Forecast noted “a continued push to stay close to home and host meetings where the largest number of attendees live.”
Read the full article filled with expert advice from Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, CEO of the Convention Industry Council; Michael Massari, Vice President at Caesars Entertainment (pictured); Anne Hamilton, Vice President of Resort Sales & Services at Disney Destinations and many more at themeetingmagazines.com.
Lead in artwork courtesy of Corporate & Incentive Travel.