Friday, December 20, 2013

Value City Suggestions for 2014 Groups

At the end of each year, Meetings Focus Magazine conducts a trends survey focusing on industry growth and performance for the prior year and expectations for the year to come. Responses from 600 meeting planners predicted a “temperate climate” in 2014. You can read the full report which covers everything from meeting planner demographics and career satisfaction to causes in job function changes and individual challenges faced here:

Perhaps the most interesting portion of the article is data and analysis provided by Bobby Bowers, Senior Vice President of Smith Travel Research (STR) about the state of the industry. Bowers summarizes: “It seems like consumer confidence is continuing to edge up a bit, but business confidence is a little sluggish with the shutdown and healthcare.”

According to Bowers, the luxury segment, which was the hardest hit, has returned to the peak performance levels seen in 2008. Bowers states “If you look at the nominal—not factored in for inflation—RevPAR [Revenue per Available Room] rate, we’re pretty much back to where we were, but if you factor in inflation we’re about a year off.”

Bowers expects that occupancy rates, which have been steadily climbing in the last two years, will hold firm causing ADR (Average Daily Rate) increases of 5.4% for high-end luxury properties and about 4.6% for upscale properties.

Suggestions for 2014 values? Bowers suggests the middle of the country, away from coastal areas, like Detroit, Minneapolis and Cincinnati. “…they haven’t seen the rate growth of markets like San Francisco and Miami,” he says. Planners might also find great values in markets where new construction will increase city room counts by at least 2%: Orlando, Houston, Long Beach, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Even better values can be found in Denver (4.5% increase) and Nashville (over 3% increase).  New York, New York will see a 12.2% increase, although NYC can hardly be considered a ‘value’ city.

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