Happy days are here again (for meeting planners)

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Last week, I posted about how thrilled hoteliers must be about the return of the seller’s market. And today, the good news is that planners also are on the comeback trail (click on image to enlarge so you can read the darn thing).

According to the recently released Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell 2004 Portrait Of North American Meeting Planners (log on to the "Publications" section of the main Web site to view the full report), the 900 planners surveyed this summer (half corporate, half association) said:

    when queried as to their plans for the year ahead (2004/05) 23% of corporate meeting planners stated they expected to book more off-site meetings than during the previous year. Fully 16% of association meeting planners shared this sentiment (see table.) The two most frequently cited reasons for this optimistic outlook were: "increased business" and "more demand for meetings."

But alas, all is not rosy in meetings-land. Going back to last week’s seller’s market post:

    One of the more challenging insights revealed by the study, however, is that meeting planners remain very concerned about the high cost of lodging accommodations. Specifically, fully 55% cited the "cost of hotel rooms" as the single most important consideration when selecting a destination for a future meeting, followed by the "convenience of the location" (34%) and ease of "transportation access" for delegates (23%).

Changes in buying patterns include:

* 21% are planning to reduce the length of their meetings (in days) in order to save money;

* 20% of corporate meeting planners said they would be replacing a larger meeting with several smaller meetings.

* 18% are planning to spend less of their meeting budgets on food and beverage;

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