What used to be a buyers market for small meetings booked with as little as two months out, has become a sellers market over the past year as room availability as become a big problem.
As the market for last minute small meetings grow, hotels are pushing their customers to book them earlier as last minute bookings often run into availability problems that could mean higher prices and/or accepting alternate properties and locations.
For last minute smaller meetings of 100 or fewer attendees, hotels are increasingly asking for higher prices and/or higher food and beverage minimums and meeting room rental fee spend.
The availability problem for last minute meeting bookings is illustrated by Marriott International's corporate meetings services division having to placed 60 percent of its customers at non-Marriott properties, due limited availability at their own properties.
The availability problem has caused booking lead times to go from an average of 1-3 months to 4-6 months for some hotels and conference centers over the past year.
At Hilton, 67% of their meetings are less than 100 rooms. To meet this demand and the related problems Hilton launched four months ago a automated booking system for last-minute events for non-negotiable group rates for bookings of five to 25 guest rooms.
Thursday, April 6, 2006