by Art Pfenning | October 01, 2004

chartThe 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 (




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