webmasterDecember 15, 2016March 25, 2020Advito, a travel industry consulting firm, just released their 2017 Industry Forecast Update that has predictions for the meeting industry many planners will find both interesting and challenging. Below, is their forecast for the coming year and recommendations from Advito and myself, as this forecast affects meeting space, room blocks and event rental suppliers equally. 2017 Meeting Industry Forecast Here is what the industry consulting firm identified in its latest report: Because demand for meeting space and rooms outstripped supply in 2016, and due to a decline in hotel builds to keep up with current demand, booking a large meeting on your desired date may continue to prove difficult. Meeting space and room rates are expected to jump 3-6% in 2017 as compared to 2016. Availability and high pricing is an issue for first-tier cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Hoteliers are requesting more flexibility with dates and urging planners to book earlier. Food and beverage prices are on the increase. Venue service charges for technology setup, strike, electricity and Internet use are expected to be strictly enforced. Hotels managers are saying “no” to business that does not fall into their minimum profit margin expectations. While all of this may seem impossible to meet your stakeholder, attendee, and budget demands; take heart. There are solutions available to you that may require additional planning and buy-in from your management and committee members, but they are well worth it. Workaround Recommendations for 2017 Events Rather than holding one large meeting, consider hosting several small meetings. This can open new venues and destinations to your organization and quite possibly increase overall attendance. To avoid meeting rate increases, ask the venue which day of the week, time of day and season is slowest for them. Do the same with your other providers. For example, according to Advito, if you hold your meeting on Sunday or Monday as compared to Tuesday through Thursday, you can save between $20-50 per room on your room block. Consider second and third-tier cities such as Denver, Nashville and Cleveland that have greater availability of space and lower costs. When issuing your RFP, include first, second and third choices for meeting times and dates. Include that you are flexible and most importantly, book your venue and suppliers 6-12 months before the event or even longer for a large convention. Look at your meeting history in detail to understand what food and beverage your attendees consumed last year. There is no need for decaf coffee and tea if no one drank it. The trend is to move away from large, fancy meals and keep things lighter and healthier. Understand, and have in writing, all service charges. Take time to present an economic impact analysis of what your meeting is bringing to the hotel and destination before asking for concessions on things like space and the Internet. Ask for the ones that are going to significantly impact your budget and let the smaller fees go. If concessions still are not where you need them to be, consider a multi-city or multi-year contract with a supplier or hotel. Lastly, if you find the hotel difficult to work with and negations are stalling, wish them luck and walk away from the table. Hoteliers and suppliers must understand that meeting industry demand is cyclical (i.e. 9/11 and the recession of 2008) and ultimately, we all need each other to survive. Hartford Technology Rental is Ready for 2017 Before you plan your next meeting or event, call us at 888-520-5667 or fill out our online form. Let us show you how we can make your next meeting stand out from the rest and well within your budget parameters.