February 23, 2005
Meeting Professionals International, the American Society of Association Executives and the Professional Convention Management Association have released a joint statement concerning hotel labor disputes currently taking place in several U.S. cities. Aside from encouraging all sides to negotiate in good faith, the three organizations state: "We do not... condone the tactics being used by the Unite HERE union that involve contacting meeting planners directly and asking them to boycott particular hotels either involved in ongoing labor negotiations or not at all involved but affiliated with certain major chains. As associations for the meetings industry, we condemn any effort to cause widespread disruption of the meetings business, which may cause great injury to the economic stability of the targeted cities as well as the economic livelihood of the hotel employees at the targeted properties." In response, a spokesperson for Unite HERE said, "We have been contacting meeting planners for over a year. The main goal of our outreach to planners is to keep them informed. It's essential that planners know what's going on, and the hotels aren't telling them. [Contacting them] is both practical and political. For both of those reasons, we're going to keep on doing it."

After reviewing input from its members, the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus has tweaked its proposed name change, which was announced in November. Instead of the "Destination Marketing Association" with the tagline "Representing Destination Marketing Associations Worldwide," the latest name and tagline being put forth by IACVB's Brand Strategic Advisory Group is "Destination Marketing Association International -- Representing CVBs and Tourist Boards Worldwide -- Your Journey... Is Our Destination." The recommendation will be submitted to the organization's board on March 2. The board will then decide when and how to put a vote before the general membership.

City officials in Chesapeake, Va., have increased the city's hotel tax from 6 percent to 8 percent. The increase, which goes into effect May 1, will help pay the operating costs of the Chesapeake Conference Center, which has 22,700 square feet of meeting and banquet space, as well as to pay for tourism promotion.

Hotel developer FaulknerUSA is in negotiations with Hyatt Hotels Corp. to run the 1,000-room convention center hotel that is on the drawing board for San Antonio. The property, to open in early 2008, will have two ballrooms -- 34,800 square feet and 27,500 square feet, respectively -- plus another 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

Complaints over a space shortage at last weekend's International PowerSports Dealer Show in Indianapolis have resulted in renewed calls for an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. The city already has lost two annual events -- Performance Racing Industry and Cedia, which brought the city $56 million in combined direct spending -- and may lose more soon if the legislature doesn't approve funding for the expansion. "We have groups such as the PowerSports consumer expo that are doing their due diligence to look at other cities in case we don't expand," said a spokesperson for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. "This reinforces the urgency that is upon our state legislature to act."