Latest Industry/Economy News & Views...
AH&LA Unveils 2015 Policy Agenda
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) today unveiled its 2015, “A Policy Agenda,” covering the priority issues most important to the health and success of the lodging sector.
The hotel industry is thriving and creating jobs and strengthening communities across the country. With nearly 5 million guests checking into hotels across the country every day, the industry generated $163 billion in lodging sales revenue last year, and raised $134 billion in business travel tax revenue – much needed dollars that go back into local towns, cities and states. Further, labor data show growth month after month, with our sector recovering from pre-recession lows and is now at its highest level since 2008. The hotel industry is also unique in its ability to offer entry-level jobs that provide good pay and benefits as well as quick opportunities for promotion. The majority of job positions in the lodging industry pay above minimum wage. Entry-level jobs offer a fast-track to upward mobility and serve as a gateway for new workers to enter the lodging industry.
“The American Hotel & Lodging Association will continue to showcase the power of our industry and the strength of our numbers in the halls of Congress and state capitols and city councils across the country, and push for policies that allow this job-creating industry to provide opportunities for entry-level workers to climb the ladder of success. What happens in Washington, D.C. has a significant impact on hotels – many of which are small businesses,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO. “Lawmakers must make every effort to protect these jobs: From safeguarding the franchise model to restoring a 40-hour work week to creating a level playing field when it comes to new entrants in the marketplace as well as with online travel companies to further increasing international travel to the U.S., these are all issue areas which preserve our industry’s ability to drive growth.”
Lawmakers, stakeholders and Administration officials can expect to hear from the hotel industry regarding the following topics this year:
Technology and Distribution
Travel and Tourism
The policy agenda was revealed at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in Los Angeles. Co-hosted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and the Burba Hotel Network (BHN), the two-and-a-half-day ALIS event features an extensive array of seminars and panels hosted by leading experts and investors discussing important trends and identifying new opportunities. The conference attracts the lodging industry’s leading hotel executives, investors, lenders, developers, and professional advisory community.
The First Ever North American Meetings Industry Day to be Held in 2015
The first ever North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID) will be held on Thursday, April 16, 2015, as a key component of the Meetings Mean Business Campaign, an information and advocacy platform promoting the industry’s role in driving business success as well as to illustrate the impact the industry has on businesses, economies and communities. This event was inspired by the very successful and 20 year strong Canadian National Meetings Industry Day created by the Canadian Chapters of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Meetings industry organizations and chapters from the U.S., Canada and Mexico will hold events on or the week of April 16th to recognize and celebrate the day, making a powerful statement on the value of the global meetings industry.
The Convention Industry Council (CIC) in collaboration with the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, will facilitate and support CIC members, chapters and other coalition members and stakeholders in implementing the NAMID strategies and activities.
“The impact and reach of CIC’s 33 national and international associations has the unique ability to push this important initiative through the federation members’ chapters and build a grassroots network of advocates for the Meetings Mean Business campaign,” said David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA, President & CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and 2015 Chairman of the Convention Industry Council. “Both CIC and IAEE are members of the MMB Coalition, and in my dual leadership role, I will utilize the power of both organizations to help launch the first North American Meetings Industry Day.”
Toolkit materials are being developed for distribution to chapters, participants and event leaders including, suggested activities and events as well as sample proclamations, media strategies and other campaign materials.
You can register your organization or as an individual supporter for NAMID here.
Read the full release from the CIC here.
10 Trends Pain ta Picture of the Future of Incentive Travel in 2015
A new study by the Incentive Research Foundation, Rebounding the Recession: The Future of Incentive Travel 2015, finds that incentive travel rewards are perfectly matched to the emerging needs of today’s multi-generational workforce and corporate America’s simultaneous move toward enterprise engagement.
Following are the top 10 highlights from the study that discuss various drivers behind this conclusion:
For more on the IRF study, Rebounding the Recession: The Future of Incentive Travel 2015, go to
Meeting Budgets Continue to Rise According to 2015 State Of The Meetings Industry Survey
In its third annual 'State of the Meetings Industry' survey of more than 185 meeting planners nationwide, Destination Hotels sheds light on the recent trends affecting the planning and execution of meetings and events. As the largest operator of independent hotels and resorts in North America, Destination asked an experienced group of corporate, association, government and independent planners—55 percent of whom control more than $100,000 per year in direct meeting spend for their organizations—about how their planning duties and their meetings themselves are changing. These changes stem from general macroeconomic trends, the continued strength of the hospitality industry in particular, attendees' evolving needs and preferences, advancing technology, and other factors.
Here is a summary of the survey results, plus front-line analysis.
Travel Employment Reaches New Record High as Travel Exports Continue to Expand
David Huether, senior vice president for research and economics at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today's U.S. employment and exports numbers:
"The Labor Department announced today that the U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November – the highest monthly increase since early 2012 – with widespread gains in all sectors, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 percent.
"The travel industry benefitted from a fifth straight month of growth, adding 8,500 jobs this month, again reaching an all-time high. Albeit from a very high base, November's travel employment increase was slower than the 12-month average of more than 11,000 jobs per month, and less notable than growth in other industries.
"Despite experiencing slower growth than the rest of the economy this month, the travel industry has been outpacing the economy -- growing 37 percent faster since the recession.
"Total travel job growth in 2014 so far has been just shy of 120,000, and the industry has experienced positive growth in all but one month this year. If history is an indicator, December job growth will likely be higher than November, bringing the industry close to, if not surpassing, the increase of 140,000 jobs experienced in 2013.
"Separately, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported today that travel exports increased to $18.5 billion in October 2014, up slightly from September and only 3.1 percent lower than the recent peak of $19.1 billion in August. Travel continues to be a major force in overall export growth for the economy.
"So far this year, travel exports have accounted for 17 percent of total export growth; nearly one in every eight dollars spent on new U.S. exports this year has been from the spending of foreign travelers coming to the U.S.
"Welcoming international travelers to our shores is a powerful catalyst to drive the U.S. economy and provide good jobs for many Americans. The State Department's recent extension of new Chinese business, tourist and student visas from one year to ten years can only be seen as great news for the economy, ensuring even more revenue from our fastest-growing source of overseas visitors."
IACC & PKF Release "Trends® in the Conference Center Industry 2014"
International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) has released the 2014 Edition of "Trends® in the Conference Center Industry." According to IACC CEO Mark Cooper, "The comprehensive trends report indicates that IACC Conference Centres once again see continued recovery in their rates which are higher than 2013."
Cooper continued, "This, coupled with marginal improvements in operating profits, demonstrates that IACC member properties continue to control costs and manage another year of improving occupancies. Conference Centres -- when benchmarked against hotels -- are showing restraint in hiking prices to their customers, which shows a long-term approach and commitment to their customers."
Cooper also notes that IACC members predicted a 'bumpy ride' for 2014 operating budgets, and they might well prove to be accurate in their predictions given the last few months of mixed economic forecasts for North America. "With the economy experiencing some set-backs," said Cooper, "a large part of conference centres' business is realised from training." According to the report, the greatest percentage of meetings (57.8%) held at residential conference centres were Training / Continuing Education sessions followed by Management Planning conferences.
"It is encouraging to see the significant growth in this type of events as organisations invest now to put in place a skilled workforce to cope with further recovery" said Cooper.
Corporate Centres achieved the greatest increase in Average Daily Rate in 2013 showing a 2.9% increase in All Centres over 2012 with Executive and Resort Centres seeing the highest ADR.
Executive and Resort Centres continued to achieve greater levels of total RevPOR compared to their comparable hotel property type, while corporate centres experienced the greatest increase in RevPOR from 2012 to 2013.
Resort Centres achieved the highest occupancy rate in 2013, while college and university centres enjoyed the greatest gain in occupancy during 2013.
In 2013, Executive and Resort Centres achieved lower levels of occupancy than their comparable hotel property type, but enjoyed greater over-the-year growth in occupancy from 2012 to 2013.
The report, compiled by PKF Hospitality Research on behalf of IACC, showed encouraging signs that Executive Conference Centres are experiencing overall rebound which has taken place in revenues and profitability for most of the members reporting. This is consistent with a recovery in the meeting market in general, which has been a long time coming.
Dave Arnold, Co-President and Chief Executive Officer-East with PKF Consulting USA, LLC commented, "With the reality of very little supply growth and demand growth in the five to seven percent range, the foreseeable future bodes well for the health of the conference centre industry."
"Certain challenges remain at the forefront," said Arnold, "including a continuing erosion of the CMP to various “modified” meeting packages, a continuing push by asset managers/owners to diversify the market base with non-conference business and dealing with on-line travel agency bookings which heretofore have had only a limited impact on group bookings. On the good news front, the market is showing an increased desire for independent, non-chain properties which, of course, has always been a strength of the conference centre industry."
IACC’s Trends® in the Conference Center Industry is available to purchase on the IACC website Store.