Worst Year Ever for the Meetings Industry

Pick a statistic—any statistic. For suppliers to the meetings and incentives industry, the forecast for 2009 is as grim as it gets. But look hard: Is that a ray of hope ahead in 2010?

At the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in January, Mark Lomanno, president of hospitality research firm Smith Travel Research, presented STR's projections for the hotel industry. It was a string of bad numbers. Hotel occupancy: down 4.2 percent in 2008 and expected to drop by 3.9 percent in 2009. Hotels' average daily rate: up 6 percent in 2007, up only 2.4 percent in 2008, and expected to drop by 2 percent in 2009.

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