AIG’s spending spree at a St. Regis resort last September, just days after receiving federal bailout money, continues to send aftershocks throughout the resort and luxury segments of the industry. The opening session of the virtual Resort Conference—a webinar titled “The Voice of Customers”—gave resort owners and operators a chance to hear from meeting planners (corporate, incentive, etc.) earlier this week.

Moderator and HSMAI President and CEO Bob Gilbert called the current landscape “dismal” and talked about the media firestorm and the “collateral damage” still being felt after AIG’s junket. Some of the damage: $1 billion in U.S. company cancelled bookings in the first quarter because of outrage over AIG; 56 percent of corporate planners reported canceling at least one meeting or incentive trip; 40 percent less group business at Starwood during the first quarter; a $50 million estimated statewide loss for Hawaii. A bit of irony: The Resort Conference went online because of lack of attendance due to travel costs and cutbacks.

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