The 2004 Meetings Market Report released by
M&C in August of this year showed an overall increase
in the number of meetings held vs. two years ago. A separate survey
conducted online in August found the increased demand for meetings
has brought with it an increase in the average room rate host
organizations and their attendees are paying.
Answered by 455 planners, the survey showed the average group
room rate paid currently is $142. According to two thirds (67
percent) of those polled, this figure is higher than the rates they
paid two years ago. It should be noted, however, the increase is
probably marginal, as more than three in five (61 percent) say they
are paying only “somewhat” higher rates.
Planners have not let higher rates deter them from
booking at the types of properties to which they are accustomed.
Four in five (81 percent) say they have not changed the level of
property they have used for most meetings over the past two years,
and 12 percent said they are using more high-tier properties.
Still, more planners have organized a meeting for less than
$100 a night per hotel room in 2004 (48 percent), than have booked
a meeting for more than a $200 a night (37 percent). And somewhat
tighter hotel room space has not stopped planner negotiations. The
distinct majority (86 percent) say they still are able to negotiate
a lower rate than the one first quoted to them.
Clearly, the emphasis planners put on room rates
ensures the rates they receive are competitive. Nearly all planners
(92 percent) said room rates are sometimes or always the top
deciding factor in selecting a meeting hotel.
Art Pfenning is director of M&C Research (firstname.lastname@example.org).