Times are tough, very tough, but there is a flipside for religious meeting planners: it’s a buyer’s market. CVBs, local governments, hotels, and resorts nationwide are doing everything they can to attract meetings to replace corporate business that has vanished. For example:

  • The Spokane Regional CVB and local politicians hosted a rally last Friday in downtown Spokane to show their support for the meetings industry. More than 200 elected officials, business owners, and frontline employees wore pins and carried banners that said: “Meetings Mean Business.”
  • Palace Resorts on March 5 announced a no-attrition policy for its Mexico properties. The policy allows meeting and event groups to reserve up to 25 percent of a Palace Resorts room inventory and later reduce the number of rooms in a block as needed, without cancellation fees.
  • Omni Hotels last month unveiled a no-attrition promotion that waives the attrition fees for new contracts booked and consumed in 2009. The hotel brand said it developed the program “in response to the growing need in the meetings marketplace for innovative solutions which can effectively address today’s economic conditions.”
  • The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs announced a guarantee for new group business held in 2009 and 2010: If your Broadmoor meeting doesn’t deliver superior value in service, facilities and quality, the master account will be waived.

Expect more announcements like this in the weeks ahead.