Contracting in the meeting industry can be a real pain point for associations and corporations alike, especially in a sellers’ market. Staying abreast of the current trends is the best way to arm you with the tools to keep the process as short and sweet as possible.
In 2016 and moving into 2017, there is not a foreseen end to the current climate that we will be contracting for our meetings. With more product then ever being added to the market, you would assume saturation would swing the pendulum in the other direction, but just as supply is up, so is demand.
In the 2016 Global Meetings and Events Forecast respondents indicated they would see an increase in the number of meetings they plan and the number of attendees at these programs, once again reinforcing increases in hotel rates and reducing availability. Other top trends to note as you look to contract your next meeting include:
Attrition is Back, Back Again — If you became comfortable getting away with negotiating attrition clauses down to next to nothing or nothing, this is a thing of the past, at least for now. This means managing your room block and contracting carefully is a must to ensure your group performs so you don’t face attrition.
Strict Option Dates — Pay close attention to the window the venue is offering you the proposal, better known as the option date. More and more often they are not extending these dates and once they have passed the deal is off the table. This could pose a large problem for those who need to garner Board of Directors approval prior to contracting.
Cancellation by the Hotel — Just like there will always be someone out there stronger or smarter, there is inevitably always a better piece of business. More groups are seeing hotels cancel contracts they agreed to during the decline in order to gain a better piece of business. Reviewing your contracts to make sure you have solid language to protect the association is key.