Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Closing 2016 and Looking to 2017

2016 is ending with a bang for the hospitality industry, as we have seen record setting growth for about the past 6 years and it’s been primarily a seller’s market. While REVPAR and other indicators have shown some market increases for 2017, most indicators we follow show a slowdown in the meetings and hotel economy. 2017 is expected to be near flat which will provide more opportunities for planners. While we are optimistic about this shift, we are not there yet and the market remains a seller’s game for now. On top of this, the merger of Marriott-Starwood, has made it more difficult than ever to negotiate hotel contracts. While it appears that we have more options, there’s actually less competition out there. Our roles as meeting managers have become increasingly strategic and forward thinking as we seek more creative ways to negotiate and make the overall meeting experience memorable, experiential, and focused on learning retention. Looking forward. we are in a fragile time with the uncertainty of a Trump presidency and all the worldwide security issues. We remain cautiously optimistic as President Trump is a hospitality veteran who is likely to promote business policies that benefit our industry and who has actively been in support of business overall. We are excited about the potential opportunities that lie ahead for us in 2017 and about the buyer-seller relationship shift.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Voluntourism: Kick Back and Give Back

Ever wanted to go on vacation, but also give back to the local community? With the holidays near and spirit of giving in the air, you might want to give voluntourism a try!  More and more hotels are getting involved in supporting local charities and are coming up creative ways of integrating their services with charity.

Marriott and Renaissance hotels in New Orleans have created the "Big Easy Spirit to Serve" program where a portion of your room rate goes to "New Orleans Habitat for Humanity". Additionally, the hotels provide a Care Concierge service that recommends volunteer opportunities in the area.

Never let your soap go to waste at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. After you check out, they will donate your used soap to "Clean the World", which recycles and distributes soap around the world.

Earn free room nights at the Maldives Soneva Resorts by spending some of your stay working on local community projects, such as planting trees, marine conservation, and teaching underprivileged children.

Next time you're think of taking a vacation, do some research and see what hotels partner with charities. Whether it's volunteering your time or just booking a room, incorporating voluntourism into your holiday plans will make a difference in someone's life.