Meetings & Conventions: Newsline
IN TIME OF NEED, SALESPEOPLE CALL ON THEIR
NEIGHBORSLocal Groups Fill Rooms
Brotherly love: Loews Philadelphia Hotel rolls out the
carpet for local organizations.
Hotels are reaching out to local organizations in
an attempt to curb dramatic drops in occupancy.
The strategy is possible in part because “large corporations are
splitting national meetings into regional ones,” said John
Stoddard, general manager and vice president at the 900-room
Wilshire Grand Los Angeles, where two salespeople were hired
specifically to target businesses in Southern California.
Michael Hochman, director of sales at the 583-room Loews
Philadelphia, also has ramped up local marketing efforts following
Sept. 11, which has helped book two large meetings for November.
“We have lost $2 million in overall business [since Sept. 11], but
we got back $700,000 by securing these two meetings, ” said
At the 750-room Millennium Broadway in New York City, 25 percent
of the business lost after Sept. 11 has been filled by companies in
bordering states, said Brad Tracey, director of sales and
marketing. “We advertised our videoconferencing capabilities
aggressively. Four or five local meetings came in this way.”
In Dallas, smaller regional groups have helped recoup about 10
percent of the 8,000 room nights lost at the 529-room
Inter-Continental Dallas, said Ken Krona, director of sales and
Suburban hotels have been equally aggressive. The 250-room
Embassy Suites Hotel Nashville South in Franklin, Tenn., negotiated
deals with nearby restaurants for cheaper food and beverage options
for groups, which helped convince a large automotive company to
commit to 17,400 room nights for training and meetings every year
starting in January.
• TERENCE BAKER
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