Meeting Business Is Still Soft

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Although a few signs point to an improving economy—or at least one in less of a tailspin—the meeting business is still taking it on the chin. This morning on CNBC, Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen (or “van Passion" as CNBC referred to him on its website) said meeting cancellations at the company's hotels are up by 50 percent.

And this story in the Orlando Business Journal shows that the Home of the Mouse is getting hit particularly hard. A survey by the local CVB of 15 hotels showed 114 cancellations worth 146,000 roomnights and $26 million in revenues during the first quarter. Also, according to the story, the U.S. Travel Association says $1 billion in meeting business was lost nationally in the first two months of the year.

Hotel companies are pulling out all the stops to incentivize travelers to get back on the road. These promotions may have an impact on individual business travel, but groups and companies—even ones in the hotel business—are uniformly rethinking their meeting plans and, more often than not, canceling or severely altering get-togethers of most any kind.

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