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Meeting Pros Discuss What Keeps Them Up at Night During MPI Smart Monday


Hospitality and meeting planner professionals identified increasing costs, time management, hotel supply and safety and security as key concerns they wanted to delve into during a Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Smart Monday education session on Monday at IMEX America.

During the session,“What’s Keeping Hospitality and Meeting Planners Up At Night,” Bob Gilbert, president and CEO of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and Matthew Marcial, vice president for education and events at MPI, challenged attendees to break down their concerns in those four areas.

Marcial first presented results of research that evolved from MPI’s quarterly trends report, Meetings Outlook, showing topics that ranked as groups and meetings top 10 challenges:

• Hotel supply and demand
• Privacy laws
• Increasing costs
• Safety and security
• Time management
• Procurement
• Third-party sellers
• Experiential meetings
• Technology
• Role of revenue management

From there, attendees selected the four they wanted to discuss in greater detail—increasing costs, time management, hotel supply and safety and security.

Attendees broke into four groups led by subject matter experts including Doreen Burse, vice president of group sales for North America, Marriott; Jennifer Rondinelli, director of meeting planning services, MAC Cosmetics, the Estee Lauder Companies; Elizabeth Sage, vice president of conference services, LPL Financial Services; and Angela Xavier, vice president, Americas sales for IHG.

Attendees debated various topics such as lead times, contingency planning, increased costs, doing more with less, technology costs, non-traditional venues, food and beverage requirements, flexible dates and increased negotiating times.

Gilbert told attendees hotel supply and demand has grown in both areas at about a 2 percent growth rate this year. He said supply is expected to grow 2.1 percent in 2018, demand will be slightly less at 1.9 percent and occupancy rate is projected to grow 0.2 percent next year.

New York, Hawaii and San Francisco remain the most expensive venues for hotel rates, Gilbert said.

“You’ve got about seven to eight years where demand has been growing faster than supply,” he said.

He added occupancy rates at upscale, upper upscale and luxury hotels is better than 73 percent.

“There is not enough supply at these tiers,” he said. “There is more capacity at moderate chains, but they don’t have as much functional space.”

About the Author

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.