Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

STR Planner Survey

Costs Complicate Meeting Dynamics

It’s a good omen for meeting attendance in 2014. More than 46 percent of the meeting planners in STR’s every-other-year survey, newly named DestinationMAP 2013 (for Meetings Assessment Program), reported an attendance increase in 2013, and attendance stayed at the same level for 35 percent. Also promising for the meetings market is an increase in average number of hotel rooms required by planners, from 1,082 in 2011 to 1,271 in 2013. But the average daily room rate jumped to $186 in 2013 from $164 in the 2011 report. While good for hotels and the economy, this poses a real challenge for meeting planners as they negotiate future bookings.

One of the most “astonishing changes” since the last report, according to STR, centers on wireless Internet connectivity. In 2011, 57 percent of meeting planners said it was required for their largest meetings. In 2013, that number swelled to 94 percent. Clearly, wireless has become a meeting commodity in the minds of meeting planners.

STR surveyed 750 association and corporate planners for the report, which was formerly known as METROPOLL. Here are other key findings from its fifteenth reading:

One good experience begets more bookings. Nine of 10 planners consider past experience with a property very important. More than half have rebooked their largest meeting at previously used sites.

Decisions focus on costs. Three of the six most important considerations for site selection directly concern costs for travel, food and lodging.

RFPs go direct. More than 60 percent of planners in 2013 got responses to their RFPs directly from hotels (compared to 47 percent in 2011).

“The findings this year suggest a complicated dynamic within the meetings market,” said Wendy Posten, research analyst, destinations, for STR. “Costs are still hugely important to planners, but other considerations — such as good hotels — are at the top of their list of concerns.”

The respondents named the top three destinations for meetings of 300 or more attendees in the past three years: Washington, D.C. (36 percent), Las Vegas (34 percent) and Chicago (34 percent). Their top three locales for future meetings: Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and Orlando. Planners also identified the importance of 28 geographic site selection considerations and 18 deterrents, as well as the value of various marketing efforts directed to meeting planners.

To order DestinationMAP, contact STR at (615) 824-8664 or destin@str.com. — Maxine Golding


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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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