Nearly 1,600 attendees gathered at the 20th Annual New England Meetings Industry Conference and Exposition, sponsored by the New England chapter of Meeting Professionals International, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on April 13. Some 44 percent of the 850 meeting planners in attendance were corporate meeting planners.
Boston is bucking the national trend when it comes to hotel construction, according to a panel of hotel revenue management experts who spoke at NEMICE. This year, according to PKF Hospitality Research, Atlanta, an increase of about 1.7 percent is expected in hotel supply nationally, with 75,000 new hotel rooms. But locally, the hotel room supply is expected to increase by 16 percent over the next two years, according to Matthew R. Arrants, managing director, Pinnacle Advisory Group, Boston.
Much of that hotel construction is being driven by the Boston Convention & Exposition Center, open just two years. And while group business hasn't dominated Boston's hotel demand in the past, that's all about to change as at least four new full-service hotels pop up closer to the new center. Arrants and the other panelists were quick to add, however, that because overall demand is consistent,(revenue per available room) is expected to grow by 10 percent in Boston this year, and the majority of that increase will come from the average daily room rate.
The panelists, including James Carmody, vice president and general manager, The Seaport Hotel; Theresa Doherty, director of market strategy, Downtown Boston Marriott Hotels; and Jill McFadden, regional director of revenue management, Northeast and Eastern Canada, Starwood Hotels, also offered the audience several negotiating points to consider when sourcing meeting business.