Sellers market and the small-meeting smackdown

As one person noted at our Pharmaceutical Meeting Planners Forum, meeting planners are their own worst enemy sometimes—by managing to get things done in less and less time, short lead times are becoming the norm (short lead times were the #1 challenge attendees said they had). Add the return to the hotel sellers market to the mix, and this is leading us to some interesting times, especially for those small meetings that lead the short-lead-time trend.

As this article on TravelMole points out:

    As the market for last minute small meetings grow, hotels are pushing their customers to book them earlier as last minute bookings often run into availability problems that could mean higher prices and/or accepting alternate properties and locations.

In fact, it goes on to say that Marriott International's corporate meetings services division had to put 60 percent of its groups at non-Marriott properties because there was no room for them at the Marriott inns. So on one hand you have managers pushing for shorter and shorter booking windows, and hotels pushing for longer and longer lead times.

Here's a great opportunity to show some strategic thinking by outlining just how much more those short-lead-time meetings are costing the organization. It sounds like hotels are willing to work with you to get the numbers, and as we all know, numbers are powerful, especially to procurement folks for whom data is their native language. Aggregate the data for all those small meetings, and it could add up to some big bucks, and some kudos for you.

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