According to a study conducted by the Incentive Federation, a
consortium of incentive associations, U.S. companies spent $46.1
billion on incentives, $13.4 billion on travel programs and $32.7
billion on merchandise in 2006. Among other findings: A third of
U.S.-based firms used either travel or merchandise incentives last
year. The average budget for travel programs was $164,271; the
typical budget for merchandise incentives was $119,008. Conducted
in early 2007 and released last week at the Motivation Show in
Chicago, the study was prepared by GfK, a marketing research
organization that interviewed a total of 1,121 executives
responsible for the development and budgeting of incentive travel
and merchandise rewards.
Last week, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research reported
that the trade show industry continued to grow during the second
quarter of 2007, with year-to-date revenue climbing to $2.65
billion, up more than 11 percent compared with the first half of
2006. Attendance increased by 13.5 percent, the number of
exhibitors rose 4.5 percent and net square footage increased 3
percent during the same period. "We have had two great quarters,
and the trend is expected to continue through 2007," said Doug
Ducate, CEIR president, in a statement.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is considering yet another plan for
the expansion of New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Patrick J. Foye, co-chairman of project developer Empire State
Development Corp., met early last week with the Hotel Association
of New York City to propose the new design. According to the New
York Times, the proposal would add 200,000 square feet of
exhibition space, 100,000 square feet of meeting room space and a
new ballroom, at a price tag of $3.2 billion. The new plan would
cost $1.4 billion more than the design put forth by former Gov.
George Pataki's administration, which, according to statements made
by Spitzer, gravely underestimated construction costs and did not
add sufficient exhibition space. The Spitzer administration
recently proposed raising the $1.50 per night room tax that
currently is put aside for the convention center expansion to $2.50
per night, in an effort to generate additional funds needed for the
expansion. (New York City's hotel tax is 13.375% plus a $3.50 per
room per night charge.) Major hotel executives, said the Times, are
adamantly opposed to the higher tax. If efforts to raise the
additional funds are unsuccessful, the only work that might be
undertaken is the renovation of the original structure at a cost of
$400 million. A spokesperson for the Empire State Development Corp.
would not confirm the details discussed in the meeting, saying only
that "design alternatives and cost options for the expansion were
The Arlington (Texas) Convention Center Development Corp. is
seeking requests for proposal to expand the center and build a
full-service 300-room hotel. Officials would like to add 50,000
square feet of new exhibition space and 10,000 square feet of
divisible meeting rooms. The center currently offers a
48,600-square-foot column-free exhibit hall and the
30,000-square-foot Grand Hall with a 7,000-square-foot prefunction
gallery and 4,000-square-foot lakeview terrace, but just 8,500
square feet of divisible breakout space. The city anticipates an
increase in group interest when the new Dallas Cowboys stadium
opens in town in 2009. The ACCDC expects to select a proposal and
development team to present to its board of directors by April.
Meeting Professionals International is revamping its annual
meeting in Europe. Previously called the Professional Education
Conference - Europe, the gathering now will be known as the
European Meetings and Events Conference, to be held April 18-20 in
London. The EMEC will offer a dual curriculum: One will target
executive meeting professionals and feature MBA-level presenters to
help attendees develop advanced business skills. The other track,
for early- to middle-stage professionals, will follow the structure
of study courses for the Certified Meeting Professional
designation. The topics of corporate responsibility and
sustainability will be woven into the tracks.
The MGM Grand Detroit, the first of the city's three 400-room
casino hotels to be completed, held a grand-opening ceremony
yesterday. The $800 million property has 30,000 square feet of
meeting space, a 20,000-square-foot spa and a Wolfgang Puck
restaurant. On Nov. 1, the MotorCity Casino Hotel will welcome its
first overnight guests, but the property's 67,000 square feet of
meeting space, which includes a 1,200-seat theater and an
11,900-square-foot ballroom, won't be ready until early next year.
The Greektown Casino Hotel, with 25,000 square feet of meeting
space, will open next year.
The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt, County Wicklow, opened Monday in
Enniskerry, Ireland. The 200-room property has 6,000 square feet of
meeting space, two championship golf courses and a spa with 20
treatment rooms. The restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt, is
run by the celebrity chef.
A $441 million redevelopment plan is being considered for Jekyll
Island, Ga. The project would include a new 150,000-square-foot
convention center connected to a 400-room hotel, at least two
additional hotels with more than 300 rooms combined, condominiums,
vacation homes and a mixed-use town center. The Jekyll Island
Authority voted recently to enter into a contract with Linger
Longer Communities to head up the revitalization. A spokesperson
from the authority said construction could begin next summer, with
some phases openings by 2011.