CWT’s fourth annual report warns that planners who want to hold meetings in high-demand markets will find suppliers ‘hold the control’. It states that planners should be aware that hotels in high-demand markets are beginning to stop holding space when responding to availability requests, and warns that meeting owners should alert their internal decision-makers of this market shift, as the risk of lost space will increase and date flexibility will be crucial as events are sourced. European hotels will be more hesitant to hold space and, according to CWT, are typically doing so with two-week limits.
The report also states that hotels are omitting or reducing flexibility in key clauses related to cancellation and attrition in both rooms and F&B, and they have also limited rebooking for future dates or the ability to resell unrequired rooms. In big cities with large airport hubs, CWT is seeing upfront offers in the 10-15% range, compared to a traditional 20-25%.
CWT also claims that hoteliers are increasing their yield management on group rates and recommends that planners provide as much lead time and date flexibility as possible to manage costs and obtain the destination and venue of choice.
The report also looks at technology trends and advises that technology helps companies ‘gain visibility’ and collect the right date to improve their meetings programmes.
Its top-four recommendations for technologies to look at in 2016 include:
- Online registration tools
- Social media and meetings apps
- Tools to address unmanaged spend
- Virtual and hybrid meetings
David Moran, executive vice president at CWT Meetings & Events, said: "We anticipate 2016 will bring tighter hotel cancellation policies, growing food-and-beverage costs and an increased focus on compliance – particularly for our pharmaceutical clients.
"Many companies will try to harness their combined spend as they look for ways to cut costs and improve program efficiency and control. This will continue to drive increased interest in Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) and consolidation. Technology is also top of mind for more clients than ever, with a younger generation of attendees spurring an interest in tools like meetings apps."
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