The U.S. hotel industry should get some good news in 2011, according to
Smith Travel Research. The hotel-industry benchmarking company is
forecasting declines in all three major performance metrics for 2009
and 2010 but looks for a rebound in 2011. The 2011 forecast calls for a
2.4 percent increase in occupancy, to 56.2 percent; a 3.0 percent
increase in average daily rate, to $96.81; and a 5.5 percent lift in
revenue per available room, to $54.41. The increased occupancy should
allow hoteliers to raise room rates, according to STR president Mark
Lomanno. "It won't nearly come close to getting back to 2007 levels,"
he said in a statement, "but will at least be the beginning stages of
improvement." For this year, STR is calling for an 8.8 percent decrease
in occupancy, an 8.9 percent dip in average daily rate and a 17 percent
drop in revenue per available room. The prospects for 2010 are slightly
better: a 0.2 percent decrease in occupancy, a 3.4 percent decline in
ADR and a 3.5 percent RevPAR drop.
Plans Unveiled to Expand Boston Convention Center
The five-year-old Boston Convention & Exhibition Center already is
looking to expand. The plan, announced Monday by Gov. Deval L. Patrick,
Boston's Mayor Thomas M. Menino and James E. Rooney of the
Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, is the start of a long-term
initiative to increase the city's share of the meetings market. "We are
trying to build a consensus before going forward," said a spokesperson
for the MCCA. A "convention partnership" committee of 25 public
officials and private individuals will study the proposal, including
whether to build a new hotel; their report is due Dec. 31, 2010. To pay
for the project, the city might raise the hotel tax again, according to
the Boston Globe. Boston's occupancy tax rose 2 percentage points in
September, to 14.45 percent.
Luxury Resort Debuts in Utah
The 181-room St. Regis Deer Crest, near Park City, Utah, opened
yesterday. The ski-in, ski-out luxury property, which is reached by a
small funicular train, offers more than 30,000 square feet of meeting
space, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's J&G Grill and a
14,000-square-foot Remède Spa. Guests ski at the Deer Valley Resort.
MPI Business Barometer Shows Some Good News
The October 2009 Business Barometer from Meeting Professionals
International, released yesterday, shows senior-level meeting
professionals continue to feel good about the near future of their
businesses. When asked which trend will most affect meetings over the
next six months, 12 percent of the 300 respondents said optimism
regarding the future economy and business, up from 3 percent just three
months ago. Another 10 percent, however, cited the poor economy,
compared with 6 percent in August, and 10 percent also cited indecision
due to economic worries, up one percentage point. Those surveyed
continue to show attendance and spending are down significantly since
2008. To see the full report, click here.
Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island Adds Ballroom
The 444-room Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island (Fla.) hotel has completed a
$22 million ballroom expansion. The facility adds 11,000 square feet of
meeting space to the property, bringing the total space to 35,000
square feet. Additional amenities include a 27,500-square-foot
full-service spa and the restaurant Salt, both of which opened in 2006.
CEIR Reports Continued Decline in Exhibition Industry Performance
The exhibition industry experienced an overall decline of 13.5 percent
in the third quarter of 2009 vs. the same quarter in 2008, according to
preliminary data collected for The CEIR Index by the Center for
Exhibition Industry Research. The results also show a 2.6 percent
decrease in performance compared with the second quarter of 2009 and
represent the sixth consecutive quarter of negative numbers. While
declines were found in all four metrics of measurement analyzed,
attendance continued to fare relatively well, with only a 2.5 percent
year-over-year drop in reported figures. Other metrics reported were
net square feet (-16.2 percent), revenue (-22 percent) and number of
exhibiting companies (-13.4 percent).
Call for Nominations for MPI Award
Meeting Professionals International is accepting nominations for its
Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence (RISE) awards.
Descriptions, criteria and applications are available at
Chicago Forms Task Force to Lure Conventions
In response to last week's news that two major trade shows will move
from McCormick Place in 2012 to Orlando and Las Vegas, representatives
of Chicago's labor unions, the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition
Authority, and local hotels and restaurants have formed a convention
task force. The group's goal is to enact changes to current business
practices and to develop a plan to attract conventions to the city.
Following the announcement, Jim Grillo, CMP, founder and CEO of
HeresChicago.com, an online resource for the meetings and conventions
industry, issued a press release encouraging the group to appoint
meetings industry owners and customers to the Metropolitan Pier &
Exposition Authority board in an effort to find long-term business
Updated Albany Convention Center Plans Revealed
Last week, project architects and construction managers presented to
the Albany (N.Y.) Convention Center Authority an updated plan for the
city's proposed 300,000-square-foot convention center. The revised
design reduces construction costs from $240 million to $220 million.
Features include 60,000 square feet of exhibit space, a
25,000-square-foot ballroom, a 10,000-square-foot junior ballroom and
22,000 square feet of meeting rooms. According to executive director
Duncan Stewart, a groundbreaking date is subject to approval from the
state government, but officials are hoping to begin construction in
late 2010 and complete the project by 2012.
Corporate Travel Management
Corporate Travel and Meetings Managers See Lower Compensation
Total compensation declined by 5.6 percent in 2009 among corporate
travel and meetings managers, according to the 2009 Travel Management
Compensation and Benefits Survey conducted by the NBTA Foundation. The
foundation, which is the education and research wing of the National
Business Travel Association, surveyed 274 corporate travel and meetings
managers working in the U.S. and Canada. While the average base salary
actually increased by 2.1 percent this year, the total compensation,
including salaries and bonuses, dropped to $91,954. Respondents with
the title of vice president actually realized a year-over-year
compensation increase, an average 8.7 percent, to $121,900. Most other
job titles, however, saw a decrease in compensation;
coordinators/specialists were hit the hardest, with a 14.2 percent
average decrease, to $51,348. In addition to travel management
responsibilities, nearly half (49 percent) of respondents are involved
in meeting planning. NBTA members can access the full report at
Strikes Continue at San Francisco Hotels
Last Wednesday, approximately 650 union hotel workers at the Westin St.
Francis in San Francisco initiated a three-day strike, the third hotel
strike to take place in the city this month. Unite Here Local 2, the
union representing the workers, alleges the Westin's management has
proposed unfair reductions to employees' health and retirement
benefits. The following day, approximately 300 hotel workers and
community members rallied outside the Grand Hyatt hotel in support of
Hyatt workers across the country. In response, the Hotel Council of San
Francisco issued a statement this week urging Local 2 to end the
strikes and instead focus on the negotiating table. Workers and hotel
management have been negotiating since late August.
New Bobby Flay Restaurant Unveiled at Mohegan Sun
Chef Bobby Flay has opened Bar Americain at Mohegan Sun, the casino
resort in Uncasville, Conn. The 276-seat establishment is Flay's 10th,
and the second Bar Americain (the original is in New York City).
Mohegan Sun offers a 1,200-room hotel and more than 100,000
square feet of meeting space.
New Resort Unveiled in Snowmass, Colo.
The 173-room Viceroy Snowmass opens today in time for the
Aspen/Snowmass ski season in Colorado. The ski-in, ski-out resort at
the base of the Assay Hill lift is the hotel anchor of the new Base
Village. The property, which is applying for LEED Silver certification,
features an 87-foot-long glass-topped après-ski bar, a full-service spa
and 9,000 square feet of meeting space.
Resort North of Boston Rebranded
Following a renovation, the 366-room Sheraton Ferncroft Resort has been
reflagged the Crowne Plaza Hotel Boston North Shore. The property
offers 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including a
10,000-square-foot ballroom. Among the amenities are the TradeWinds
Restaurant and Lounge, a Starbucks, the Atlantis Sport Club, the Spa de
Mar and the CoCo Key Water Resort, a 65,000-square-foot indoor water
Cambria Suites Breaks Ground in Pittsburgh
Joint development and ownership partners Horizon Hospitality and the
NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins have broken ground on a 142-room Cambria
Suites in downtown Pittsburgh. The hotel will be adjacent to the Consol
Energy Center, the Penguins' future home arena, and will open in fall
2010. An on-site restaurant and a fitness center with indoor pool and a
spa also are in the plans.
Plan Details Emerge for Columbus Convention Hotel
According to Business First of Columbus (Ohio), last week plans were
unveiled for the $175 million Hilton convention center hotel project in
the city. Ground might be broken on the 532-room property as early as
next July, with plans to open in fall 2012. Details include 23,000
square feet of meeting space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom;
a 300- to 400-seat restaurant; a lounge seating 100, and a coffee shop.
New Museum Opens in Fort Worth
The new home of the Fort Worth (Texas) Museum of Science and History,
which celebrates the life and landscape of Texas and the Southwest, is
now open in the city's cultural district. Designed by Legorreta +
Legorreta, the 166,000-square-foot facility is the area's largest, and
it joins structures created by Tadeo Ando, Buckminster Fuller, Philip
Johnson and Louis Kahn. The museum can host 4,100 for a reception,
giving attendees access to the exhibits during the event.