Repeat group business and more robust bookings for 2010 and 2011 were bright spots reported at the 12th Annual Krisam Group Insurance Advisory Board, held at the Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Coast, Calif., May 13–16.

Among the takeaways from the event, organized by Krisam VP Doris Dallow and led by Krisam President Jim Schultenover:

1. Planners’ meeting budgets are holding steady, but they expect airfare costs to increase.
2. Very short-term bookings are still the norm.
3. Planners are most concerned about rising hotel fees, including catering charges of up to 24 percent for service and gratuities.
4.Hoteliers reported more insurance meetings on the books for this year and next, with rates trending upwards.
5. Responsible, transparent spending will help to mitigate perception issues. Planners are adding more educational activities to incentive agendas.
6. Tactics to help get contracts signed sooner include hotel incentives that expire on a certain date (such as a complimentary opening reception) and “first option” clauses that release the space to another group within a defined time period if the contract is not signed.