Licensing Fees, Procedures A new music licensing agreement has been reached between the music and meeting industries, simplifying the reporting process and reducing costs for meeting organizers. Industry organizations--Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), and the Religious Conference Management Association (RCMA)--collaborated in recent negotiations with Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI).

Retroactive to January 1, 1997, the new agreement halves the rate for live performances at meetings and conventions: Where live or recorded music is played, rates will be five cents per attendee, with a cap not to exceed the event's total registration. That means if there are 1,000 attendees at your meeting, your maximum charge will be $50, even if you play music at multiple events. Those rates are set through the year 2000; after that there may be increases based on the Consumer Price Index. The minimum rate for a licensing contract has been decreased from $175 to $100. The annual reporting and payment form has been simplified and fits on a postcard.

Planners will no longer have to worry about what music they can use and when they need additional licenses. Every licensee will receive a CD-ROM catalog listing all BMI-licensed music. The CD-ROM will be updated quarterly; for weekly updates, planners can check BMI's Web site (http://bmi.com).

This agreement is separate from the 1990 meetings industry agreement with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). No negotiations are planned for a new ASCAP agreement.

Hotel Deals in the News * The latest episode in the ongoing saga of Hilton Hotels Corporation's $6.5 billion hostile bid for ITT Sheraton Corporation finds Sheraton continuing to shed assets--even hotels--as it tries to strengthen its financial position and avoid a shareholder vote in favor of the would-be buyer. A judge rejected Hilton's attempt to force ITT Sheraton to hold its annual shareholders meeting in May; that meeting now is expected to take place in November. ITT Sheraton's most dramatic cost-cutting move came in April when the company slashed its New York headquarters staff from 200 to 75.

* Patriot American Hospitality has acquired Wyndham Hotel Corporation for $1.1 billion in stock, cash, and assumption of debt. Patriot will acquire Wyndham's portfolio of 23 owned or leased hotels, plus management and franchise agreements for Wyndham's 79 managed and franchised properties throughout North America. It will also acquire 11 Wyndham-branded hotels from the Trammell Crow family. Patriot's post-merger portfolio will include 107 hotels with approximately 25,000 rooms. Patriot now owns three upscale brands: Wyndham, Carefree Resorts, and Grand Heritage.

* After sealing its deal to buy Renaissance Hotels & Resorts International for $1 billion, Marriott International announced first-quarter earnings that were 22 percent higher than the first quarter of 1996. The Renaissance deal added 150 properties, bringing Marriott Lodging's portfolio to 1,366 properties with more than 276,000 rooms. Marriott plans to increase that to 400,000 rooms by 2001.

* Fairmont Hotels recently announced its 25th consecutive quarter of record results as it continues a major expansion. Its acquisition of The Plaza in New York City and the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston brought its total luxury portfolio to seven. The chain, striving to create a "grand hotel" niche, plans to add ten more properties by 2000.

* Hyatt Hotels & Resorts announced a $1 billion acquisition and expansion earlier this year, with plans to acquire 20 to 30 upscale hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean over a three-year period. Its most recent deals: the purchase of the Grand Hyatt San Francisco, which Hyatt has managed since 1973, and the management and part-ownership of the Hotel Nikko Atlanta, renamed the Grand Hyatt Atlanta. (Hyatt's ownership partner in the Atlanta property is Blackstone Real Estate Partners.)

* Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts has announced a major expansion in Asia during this year. A total of six new properties--four in Malaysia, one in Japan, and one in the Philippines--will bring Pan Pacific's portfolio up to 22 properties in 13 countries. The new hotels are The Pan Pacific Hotel Yokohama, Japan; Pan Pacific Hotel Manila, Philippines; and the Pan Pacific Sutera Hotel Kota Kinabalu, Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport Hotel, Pan Pacific Hotel Malacca, and Pan Pacific Leader Hotel Penang, all in Malaysia.

* New World Hotels International Limited plans a 40 percent expansion in Asia during the next three years, adding new hotels in Hanoi, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thai- land; Dalian, Shanghai, and Nanjing, China; and Jakarta, Indonesia.

* Bristol Hotel Company recently paid Bass plc $660 million for 60 full-service Holiday Inns in the U.S. and Canada. Bristol has plans to invest $200 million in capital improvements at the new properties over the next three years. The Dallas-based company also has announced a public stock offering of up to 2.875 million new shares of common stock of the company.

Analysts Predict Strong Hotel Market Will Continue The hotel business was so profitable in 1996, it made up for all the losses it experienced from 1982 to 1995. With predictions that 1997 will end up even better, it was easy for the 1,500 attendees at the 1997 Hospitality Industry Investment Conference to believe that they lived in the best of all possible worlds.

Speakers at the three-day conference, sponsored by the New York University (NYU) Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Travel Administration and held at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria hotel, were confident that although room supply is up 3.1 percent this year and demand up only 2.8 percent, rates will continue to rise (six percent in 1997) wherever there is still a shortage of hotel rooms.

In 1996, 90,000 new hotel rooms were added in the U.S. in more than 1,000 new hotels; 1997 will bring an additional 120,000 rooms. Outlook for the future? "If we [continue to build hotel rooms at this pace] again in 1998, it could really hurt," says Randall A. Smith, CEO of Smith Travel Research. Nevertheless, hotel analyst Stephen Rushmore, president of HVS International, expects deluxe property ($100 a night and up) starts to increase through the year 2000, though upscale ($75 to $100 a night) and middle- level building will hit a plateau.

"The industry has a short memory," remarked Sherwood (Woody) Weiser, chairman and CEO of Carnival Hotels & Resorts. "It traditionally develops where the capital is available whether there is or is not a need. Although in some areas, [the growth in hotel inventory] is justified." He urged investors at the conference to "watch the indicators of supply and demand very carefully."

Let Us Entertain You Weiser, who foresees entertainment partnerships for Carnival, said the hotel/hospitality industry is in the entertainment industry and predicted the development of "entertainment villages" with accommodations, restaurants, meeting space, attractions, shopping, and gaming. Carreker agreed, saying that the baby boomers "want to work in a fun place" and that meeting sites with "lots of amenities" were an important strategy.

This trend may be a partial answer to why the hotel industry's deluxe chain segment is doing so well, with demand, occupancies, rates, REVPAR (revenue per average room), and conversions, all increasing. Independent hotels (including casino properties) have declined in supply as many affiliate with chains, but they, too, have seen a rise in demand and occupancy, as well as room rates. And that luxury segment of the market that analysts refer to as "upper upscale" has seen a 12 percent increase in rooms and a 14.1 percent rise in demand with accompanying revenue increases, creating a big impact on industry statistics.

The U.S. cities in which hotel investors are seeing the best return are (in order) New York, Honolulu, San Francisco, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angles, and Anaheim. The cities where hotel investment is faring the least well are New Orleans, San Antonio, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Washington, DC, all largely due to overbuilding.--Connie Goldstein

DMCs at Your Desktop DMC-Net, the only Web site dedicated solely to the destination management industry, now lists more than 650 DMCs worldwide. Go to http://www.dmc-net. com to search by company name, city, country, or contact person. Each listing includes comprehensive contact information along with Web and e-mail addresses. DMC-Net was created by Patti Roscoe, CITE, chairman, PRA Destination Management, in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs.

New MPI President Aims for Globalism "I want members everywhere to be able to benefit from Meeting Professionals International [MPI] programs and take part in its governance," says MPI's president-elect Anna Lee Chabot, CMP, who officially began her term July 1. Currently the head of the meetings and assemblies section for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Ottawa, Chabot is the fifth female and second Canadian to serve as MPI president.

Although international in name, MPI is, in fact, mostly a North American organization. Chabot aims to change that.

But she doesn't intend to impose the North American methods of organizing membership on the rest of the world. "I think we're open to the idea that there may be different ways of organizing our membership in other regions of the world," she says. "To go in and create our own bureau and chapter network may not be the most efficient way of bringing MPI's products and services to another region."

Chabot points to the recent alliance with the Meetings Industry Association of Australia as a possible model for MPI's global expansion. The Australian association has been given a corresponding affiliate member status, enabling its members to join MPI. "It is not our intention to reinvent the wheel," Chabot says. "If we can extend the reach of our programming by working with existing societies and associations that have the same goals, then we are all further ahead."

--Tamar Hosansky

Independent Meeting Planners Form Alliance The newly formed Alliance for Meeting Management Consultants (AMMC) wasn't planning to solicit membership until this summer, but interest has been so great, membership information is being sent out right away, reports Toni Sylvester, CMP, AMMC secretary-treasurer, and president of Sylvester Management Corporation in Irmo, SC.

One of the first goals of the organization is to set up a financial pool that will enable AMMC members to launch joint marketing efforts. Other AMMC goals are to establish an identity for the meeting management consultant industry both within the meetings industry and in the general business community; to provide networking and education opportunities for members; and to promote high standards and ethics among consultants.

Sylvester created AMMC along with Lynne K. Tiras, CMP, president of International Meeting Managers of Houston; and Earlene J. Hill, CMP, of Hill Management Concepts, Inc. in St. Louis.

AMMC holds its first meeting July 24 in Washington, DC. The one-day session will be led by Hugh K. Lee, president of the center for Organization Development in Webster, NY.

AMMC membership dues are $250. In addition, members must contribute a minimum of $500 to the marketing pool. (The minimum fee is set by members.) Call Toni Sylvester at (800) 200-2774.

International News * As part of its $800,000 "Discover Bermuda" marketing campaign launched in June, the Bermuda Department of Tourism is forming the "Bermuda Explorers Club," open to travel professionals who have either made a site visit to Bermuda or held a program there. Corporate, incentive, and association planners who qualify will receive a membership certificate and a quarterly newsletter updating them on the latest developments in hotels, facilities, attractions, and events.

Other developments: A golf course and meeting-size hotel are planned for the site of the old Naval Annex in Southampton. The Sonesta Beach Resort and Marriott Castle Harbour Resort are completely refurbished; and the Elbow Beach Hotel is now managed by the Rafael Group.

* The Ninth Annual Report on Europe, published this spring by the European Federation of Conference Towns (EFCT), paints a picture of vibrant growth in meetings among the 80 EFCT member towns. Widespread investment in new and renovated facilities has followed a record year in 1996 for several cities, including Vienna, Barcelona, Helsinki, Paris, and Birmingham (England).

Geoffrey Smith, the report's editor, says the one disappointment was the failure of the European Union Budget Committee to endorse a project designed to provide marketing and promotional support to the tourism and conference industries. At the same time, he adds, competition is becoming ever more intensive. "Planners are faced with many options for destinations, and new facilities are coming on stream all the time." The EFCT report is available on the Internet at http://www.ua.ac.be/Tour Web/EFCT.html.

Correction The Incentive Canada site file that appeared in the May/June 1997 issue of ICP included an incorrect Web address for the Metropolitan Toronto Convention & Visitors Association. The correct address is http://www.tourism-toronto.com.

Coming Up * August 3 to 5, Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress, Baltimore, MD. Call (972) 702-3000.

* September 28 to 30, Life Office Management Association Annual Confer- ence, Montreal. Call (800) 275-5662.

* September 28 to October 1, Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange Semi-Annual Conference, Smuggler's Notch, VT. Call (416) 777-2221.

* October 27 to 29, LIMRA International Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX. Call (860) 688-3358.

The mood at the opening ceremonies was jubilant as the European Incentive & Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (EIBTM) celebrated its tenth anniversary in Geneva in May. From 3,000 attendees ten years ago to 7,000 today, from 360 exhibitors to 2,250, EIBTM's growth is nothing less then impressive.

Making news at the show was the kickoff of a marketing alliance known as the Historic Conference Centres of Europe. Members are at least 100 years old, promise state-of-the-art technology and superior service and management standards, and are located in cities known for their rich cultural heritage. The 11 founding members are Grazer Congress, Graz, Austria; Hofburg Congress Center, Vienna; Beurs von Berlage, Amsterdam; Flanders Congress & Concert Centre, Antwerp, Belgium; Palais des Papes, Avignon, France; Dublin Castle Conference Centre; CCM Congress Centre Rosengarten, Mannheim, Germany; Palazzo del Polpolo, Orvieto (Italy); Palacio da Bolsa, Porto, Portugal; Norra Latin, Stockholm; and Das Kurhaus, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Also big news: the alliance between five major airlines--United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS, and Thai Airways--known as the Star Alliance. The agreement gives frequent flyers mileage awards in each partner's program and privileges at alliance airport lounges worldwide.

The Ministry of Tourism in Nassau, the Bahamas, took the top prize in EIBTM's annual Greening of Business Tourism awards for its sustainable tourism efforts and ecotourism awareness months. Other winners: Princess Cruise Lines; Swissair; ANA Hotels International; Honey Island Swamp Tours, New Orleans; Cairns Convention Center, Australia; Discovery Ecotourism, Jordan; Tourism Vancouver, Canada; Green City, Denmark; and Tropical Nature and Cultural Safaris, Kenya.

Insurance Conference Planner co-hosted a group of readers during a pre-show site inspection trip to Vienna. There, they toured palaces, and hotels that were palaces, including the 245-room Radisson SAS Palais and the Imperial, with 130 luxurious guest rooms. Other stops included the 460-room Inter-Continental, with the city's largest ballroom; the 313-room Marriott; and the 309-room Renaissance. The sightseeing highlight was the 1,441-room, butter-yellow Schonbrunn, the Habsburgs' summer palace.

EIBTM 1998 is scheduled for May 12 to 14 at the Palexpo Exhibition Center in Geneva.

--Barbara Scofidio and Rayna Skolnik

Insurance Notes * As the insurance industry goes, so go its associations. The board of the Life Insurance Conference (LIC), a small trade association of home service and pre-need companies, hopes to merge with the Life Office Management Association (LOMA) this summer. "The [life insurance] industry is shrinking," says Bruce Dalzell, LIC president. "We felt it was a good time to seek a partner."

While not final at press time--LIC members will vote by proxy on their board's recommendation to merge--Dalzell is confident that a partnership is what's needed to keep this small specialty association active. If the merger goes through, LIC will become a council with its own board within LOMA and will be considered its own business unit. Currently, LIC has 61 insurance company members, 44 associate members, and a staff of three. LOMA's insurance company membership is close to 1,000 and the organization has a staff of 190. Dalzell says there are no plans, at present, to merge any of the eight small meetings he holds each year with any of LOMA's 25 meetings, but the possibility exists. He does, however, plan to make use of the LOMA meeting planning department. "It's going to be one of the first places I go," he says.

* Change of Address: Now you can find the Life Insurance Marketing Research Association (LIMRA) International at www.limra.com. The organization has redesigned its Web site to include a Database Sampler, containing abstracts of selected LIMRA research reports, products, and services. Also new at the site: the "hot topic of the week," reflecting the subject of the most calls to LIMRA during the previous week.

* The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) 1997 Product Catalog is now available. The catalog covers MDRT's selling tools, publications, audio- and videocassettes, professional recognition pieces, and gifts. Call (847) 692-6378 or fax (847) 518-8921.

* Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company real estate equities manager, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers Inc., announced in May that MassMutual has purchased the Hotel du Parc in Montreal, Quebec for more than $12 million from Crowne Life Insurance Company. The 364-room conference hotel will be completely renovated by February.

LIMRA Attendees Take to the Slopes The Vail Cascade Hotel & Club recently hosted a post-LIMRA fam trip to show off its $2 million renovation project. Pictured are, back row: Rod Bruck, Standard Insurance Company; Peggy Miles, Vail Associates; Kathy Fort Carty, Destination Services; Dan Peterson, Baptist Life; third row: Annie Halpin, Vail Cascade Hotel & Club; Ann Levan, Resort Choices; Chris Hanen and Gray Fries, Vail Cascade Hotel & Club; Annette Peterson, Baptist Life; Ron Mallad, National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators; second row: Andre Fournier, Vail Cascade Hotel & Club; Ed Coover, National Travelers Life; Gretchen Walker, Vail Cascade Hotel & Club; Skip Liddell, Kanawha Insurance; and, front row: Jeff Socha, Vail Associates