by Michael J. Shapiro | September 17, 2014
Corporate-contracted hotel rates could increase by 5.5 to 6.5 percent in 2015, according to an NYU forecast prepared by clinical professor Bjorn Hanson, the highest annual jump since NYU began compiling the forecast in 2008. Average negotiated rates rose by about 4.5 percent in 2014, according to the report, while the overall average daily rate for U.S. hotels climbed by about 4 percent. Hanson identified a number of trends in corporate negotiations, one of which was the continued practice of charging separately for some amenities -- among them Internet access, fax charges and use of fitness centers -- rather than including them in room rates. Before 2012, it was more common to include those amenities in the negotiated room rates. Also continuing is the trend to include more upscale, select-service and limited-service properties in preferred-hotel programs, in place of upper-upscale and full-service hotels. Hanson has identified a policy shift in some companies, which are allowing corporate travelers to stay at hotels at which rates were not negotiated. Such a policy is proving to be popular among younger travelers, noted Hanson, and potentially can lower the overall average rate while increasing traveler satisfaction.