Industry NewsDestination Hotels Reveals Meeting Trends for 2016

Destination Hotels Reveals Meeting Trends for 2016

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—Destination Hotels, the largest operator of independent hotels, resorts and residences across the U.S., releases key findings on 2016 meetings trends today from its fourth annual “State of the Meetings Industry” survey. Nearly 300 meeting planners across North America—of which 53.5 percent control more than $100,000 per year in direct meeting spend for their organizations—were surveyed on how their planning duties and their meetings are changing for 2016. The following is a summary of the most significant survey results, plus insight from meetings-focused executives within Destination Hotels.

Work-Life Blend at Meetings Increases Attendee Satisfaction

For the first time in years, responding planners cited recreational options at a meeting site as more important now than the previous year. Planners are looking to offer meeting attendees an opportunity to engage in leisure pursuits before, during, or after a meeting in the form of a tennis outing, guided bike tour, or a block of spa appointments set aside at a discounted rate. Attendees have even begun taking advantage of meetings by creating mini-vacations around their plans—61 percent of planners advised that more than one in ten of their attendees arrive on-property before the meeting begins or stay on-property after, for leisure purposes.

Flexible Meeting Spaces are Important and Beneficial
Among the nearly 68 percent of respondents who ranked flexible meeting spaces at an 8, 9, or 10 in importance when choosing a meeting site, the two factors driving this need are 1) delivering information and insight at a level that tech-based meetings cannot, and 2) offering a variety in learning environment so that attendees remain stimulated.

Matching Budget with Rates is a Delicate Act
Fewer planners will have more money to put toward their events in 2016 versus last year – 31.5 percent of respondents advised their 2016 meetings budget will be higher than the previous year’s, while another 57.6 percent said their total budget will remain about the same. Last year, those figures were 37 percent and 51 percent, respectively. With rate ranking 9.19 in importance when scaling factors most critical to destination selections, the 65-straight-month gain in RevPAR for properties will leave planners even more hard-pressed to achieve the event expectations set by management.

The Challenge in Delivering Memorable F&B Experiences at a Reasonable Cost
With food and beverage pricing ranking as the third-most critical factor in placing meetings among survey respondents–67.3 percent of respondents rated it either a 9 or 10 in importance–it’s no surprise that meeting RFPs typically include a request for an F&B discount.

Easily Navigable, Standardized Information
When it comes to technology that helps planners choose the site of a meeting, 41 percent of responding planners said they most often use the internet to research and narrow down potential host properties.