Meetings Beat - 2006-10-09(2)
BCD Travel Predicts Hikes For 2007 Rates, F&B Costs
BCD Travel Consulting last month predicted single-digit percentage increases for groups in its 2007 Industry Forecast. The same factors affecting air and hotel segments, such as increasing ticket prices and high room rates, are driving meetings costs higher, BCD noted. "BCD Travel Consulting forecasts average group hotel rates will increase 3 percent to 5 percent in 2007," the report said. "However, in popular meeting destinations, group room rate increases are expected to be even higher at 8 percent to 9 percent. Food and beverage costs are expected to increase by 8 percent in 2007 as hotels fully maximize the current market situation." Supplier concessions for meetings and flexibility in attrition are expected to remain the same and even decrease in the coming year, it noted. In Europe, meetings volume is expected to slow, with a decrease in business from the Canadian and U.S. markets. The United States and Asia are expected to be the top destinations for outbound European meetings in 2007, the report noted.
AFS, Cornerstone Offer Live Group Flight Information
Des Moines, Iowa-based Air Fulfillment Services last month announced it had combined Cornerstone's IBank data warehouse capabilities and FlightStats' real-time flight tracking to offer customers up-to-the-minute, global, flight information for corporate groups. FlightStats uses Federal Aviation Administration and global distribution system data, among other sources, to track flights. The data is complied and distributed through IBank, according to a company release. "Using IBank to push AFS itineraries into the FlightStats itinerary-monitoring system, AFS is able to track every attendee, every flight, every connection, anywhere in the world, in real time from a single console," according to the release. "We're expecting to save 80 percent in productivity costs by having immediate access to complete flight status data and real-time itinerary monitoring. This gives us a competitive advantage and allows us to be proactive," said Air Fulfillment Services senior vice president Yvonne Long. Long said that during the 2003 New York blackout, some clients' flights had been listed as departed when in actuality the planes were delayed on the tarmac—a problem avoided with the new tracking system. AFS said the system is essential with "ever-increasing travel risks," such as avian flu or hurricanes. The tracking system is currently in beta test and is expected to roll out later this year.
IACC Opens New Chapter In Europe
The International Association of Conference Centers last month became a little more global with the opening of a new chapter in The Netherlands. The chapter is the organization's sixth, in addition to chapters established in Australia, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom and North America. Global president Peter Stewart officially presented the charter to Richard Jouvennar, who serves as president of the chapter comprised of seven properties in The Netherlands and one in Belgium, according to an IACC release. "Our success has been built upon the quality standards that our members meet before becoming members," Stewart said at an IACC reception at a property just outside Amsterdam. "These standards guarantee our customers a venue which is designed and operated for meetings with the latest technology and the best staff committed to making the meeting a success." The organization also elected new officers to its global board of directors for 2007. Stewart has been re-elected to another term as president and Tom Cappucci of University Place at IUPUI will take over for Jeff Farina of Benchmark Hospitality International as secretary-treasurer.
Events' Share Of Corporate Budgets Slips
Companies are allocating more than 25 percent of their marketing budgets to events, a slight decrease from last year, according to the fifth annual EventView report on event-marketing trends released last month by the Meeting Professionals International Foundation and The George P. Johnson Co. However, 37 percent of the nearly 900 marketing management respondents said their event marketing budgets are expected to increase. The study also showed that post-event measurement would play a key role in the trend toward "experience marketing." Seventy-one percent of respondents said they do engage in some form of post-event measurement, the highest percentage in the five years the survey has been conducted. In addition, 24 percent of respondents said event marketing provides the greatest return on investment. "The critical role that meetings and events continue to play in the overall marketing mix is one of the clear messages of the EventView 2006 report," according to Dawn Myers, director of research for Meeting Professionals International, in a release. "The undeniable effectiveness of face-to-face interaction is increasingly attractive to marketers looking to cut through the information clutter."