Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

3 Effects of the Strong Seller’s Market

With no apparent end in sight for the current strong hotel seller’s market, meeting professionals are finding their contract negotiations becoming more convoluted than ever, according to the Meetings Outlook, 2018 Summer Edition, from Meeting Professionals International (MPI).

With 67 percent of members affirming they are experiencing a hotelier-friendly business environment, almost 55 percent say the contracting process is getting knottier. And they’re experiencing other market conditions that further compound the negotiation challenges, with almost 23 percent saying they now are facing new and different issues.

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Among the challenges of contracting in today’s market:

• Having to renegotiate contracts signed before current market forces changed the landscape. The rise of Airbnb and other alternate housing options, along with online travel agencies that help attendees find low-cost hotel rooms outside the negotiated room block, are now disrupting hotel housing blocks that were negotiated years earlier. This could lead to an attrition situation if meeting organizers and hotels can’t find a mutually acceptable way to modify the block.

• Trying to entice hotels, which are emboldened by the ongoing seller’s market, to work within the meeting organizer’s budget on room blocks and food and beverage (F&B).

• Losing leverage as the continuing wave of mergers and acquisitions in the hotel market turns what once were competitors into sister chains.

The good news is, although contracting is getting increasingly labyrinthine, 97 percent say they’re ready to take on the challenge, adding that they bring high (69 percent) or moderate (28 percent) negotiating skills to the table.

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Other survey results:

• Sixty-eight percent of planners say business conditions will continue to be favorable, to the tune of 2.8 percent growth in 2019. Fifty-six percent expect a positive trend in live attendance in 2019, a 1.8 percent increase. In fact, projected live attendance is expected to outpace virtual attendance growth for the first time in three years.

• Even budgets are expected to be favorable next year, though not by much: 53 percent predict their budgets will increase, if only by an estimated 2 percent. Thirty-two percent predict flat budgets for 2019, with 16 percent expecting a budgetary/spend downturn.

• Virtual events are on the rise, both in number and in perceived value. Twenty percent of respondents say they expect to hold more virtual events in the coming year, and 60 percent say online events have a positive influence on live event attendance. Just 21 percent think virtual events negatively influence live event attendance, and almost a fifth say such events don’t really have much influence either way. — Sue Pelletier

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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