Success Breeds Pressure for Event Planners, Study Finds

A new report from CWT Meetings & Events reveals that a growing demand for meetings isn’t being matched with a fresh supply of new, larger hotels that are well-equipped for events.

The meetings industry is doing pretty well at the moment, but as any meeting planner can tell you, doing well comes with its own set of problems.

The 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends Report [registration], from Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s Meetings & Events arm, says a lot of events will grow next year, with 14 percent larger group sizes in North America. And while demand is rising, especially for meetings with between 101 and 500 attendees, the hotel industry isn’t keeping pace by building enough “big box” hotels with adequate conference space—though the report notes that the pipeline of new hotels is otherwise strong.

“Demand continues to outpace supply of meetings-eligible hotels,” noted CWT Meetings & Events Senior Director and Global Lead Nathan Brooks. “The demand for meetings, which includes accommodation, is going to be significantly challenged by a lack of inventory. Continuing industry consolidation means fewer options for buyers, and that will push prices up.”

The report suggests that, to work around this problem, event planners might consider setting events in smaller cities, if possible.

The report ranks Las Vegas the top North American city for events, based on Carlson Wagonlit’s booking data: It jumped from 10th place to first in a single year. Other top cities were New York, Orlando, and Boston. Meanwhile, the report recommends that planners keep an eye on San Diego, Toronto, and Nashville.

Tighter markets mean that facilities designed for more than 100 attendees are often booked more than four months in advance, according to the report, while those that accommodate 400 or more are booked up between six and nine months in advance. Large conventions have to reserve space more than a year ahead of time.

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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