“We're here for a reality check and candid conversation,” said Jim Schultenover, president of The Krisam Group and moderator of Krisam's Insurance Advisory Board, held in early June at the lovely Charleston Place Hotel in Charleston, S.C. (see page 42). So began a productive “Kriab” meeting that, in the words of one attendee, left participants “invigorated, with more energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge than I came with.”

During business sessions, our group of a dozen planners and 10 hoteliers talked frankly about industry issues ranging from budget cutbacks to standardized contracts. “Everyone is wearing lots of hats, and responsibilities have expanded way beyond getting people from point A to point B,” summarized Schultenover.

Among the observations:

  • Budget cutbacks continue. “I'm getting to the point where I can't do more for less. Just tell me which meal to cut,” said one planner.

  • The involvement of legal and procurement departments has slowed down the contracting process, in part because these departments usually review contracts in order of submission, whether they be for meetings or other purchases — and they are extra sensitive about liability, cancellation, and attrition clauses. Long contract turnaround times are frustrating both planners and hoteliers.

  • In a sellers market, hoteliers are finding it increasingly difficult to hold space without a contract. All agreed they can make better deals at least 18 months out from the meeting.

Krisam News

Hotel representation firm Krisam Group (a sister company with Global Events Partners, a consortium of destination management companies, and the August Jackson production company) will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in January. It had a record year in 2004, generating $1 million in room revenue for its member hotels. For more information, go to www.krisam.com