Why Planners Are Choosing All-Inclusive Venues

What does the ideal meeting venue look like today? BizBash takes a look!

Today, meeting attendees want to feel at home—even at dedicated conference and meeting venues. They don’t want to limit themselves to one room, either.

“When people are sitting all day long in one space, [they] can get restless,” says Sarah Vaynerman, Offsite’s director of communications. “Your mind doesn’t have a lot of room for creativity if you’re looking at the same thing all day long, if you’re sitting in the same seat all day long.”

Meeting and event venue developer Convene asked a focus group of planners, and their answers inspired the design of the new Convene at 237 Park Avenue space in New York.

Opened in July in Midtown East, the venue encompasses 12,000 square feet, including eight meeting rooms and space for as many as 275 participants. During the conception of 237 Park Avenue, Convene’s strategic planning process included a method known as “Human Centered Design,” which resulted in innovations such as a meeting planner station outside conference rooms so planners can greet guests but still see what’s happening inside via a live video and audio feed. Similarly, the decor of 237 Park Avenue almost seems residential, with unexpected details like a fireplace and beer taps.

“Nobody wants to be in a cube-like environment,” explains Convene’s vice president of design and innovation, Joyce Bromberg. “It’s a cross between the living room that you dream of, your favorite restaurant, and the newest hotel.”

Photo: Courtesy of Offsite

Groupize Integrates with Concur to Expand Small Meetings Management

The meetings management technology provider Groupize has joined the Concur App Center. The technology focuses on small meetings and claims to bridge the gap between transient travel tools and heavier meetings management technology stacks. It offers three levels of functionality: multi-room booking, strategic sourcing and attendee registration.

Arrangers can book meetings with up to nine sleeping rooms in the app, which pulls in preferred properties and rates directly, for now, from Travelport. Sabre currently does not accommodate multi-room bookings, though Groupize has talked to the provider about the opportunity.

For larger programs, the app allows arrangers to negotiate with multiple properties for various meeting elements—including sleeping rooms, meeting spaces, food and beverage, audiovisual and special requests—via an email-based bids system that tracks all stages of the process and facilitates internal corporate approvals for budget and contract authorization.

See more here.

Domestic Business Travel Leads Positive 2016 Travel Results

According to the US Travel Association’s latest Travel Trends Index, travel to and within the US in 2016 grew 2.4 percent from December 2015. This was led by renewed strength in the domestic business travel sector.

Following a strong showing in November’s data for domestic business, the sector’s immediate growth declined slightly in December 2016. However, the forecast in the Leading Travel Index indicates that domestic business travel’s growth rate will rebound, and catch up to that of domestic leisure travel – the sector that has typically led US travel growth.

The index includes both current travel, measured the number of person-trips involving hotel stays and/or flights each month, and a future travel predictions, based on the likely average pace and direction of business and leisure travel, both domestic and international inbound.
See more from BTN’s Redline News.

 

Communal Rooms Coming to Marriott’s Element Hotels

Communal guest rooms are coming to the Marriott hotels. A pilot program at the company’s eco-conscious, extended-stay Element properties will give guests a new option that combines private bedrooms with a shared common area. Both business and leisure travelers stand to benefit.

Element’s bold communal guest room design will involve a shared kitchen, dining and lounge space surrounded by four guest rooms. For travelers seeking more unique lodging options, the appeal stems from an increase in not only available space, but also flexibility of use. The move addresses a growing consumer demand for unique accommodations. Marriott’s target market for communal room offerings spans a variety of customer bases, including families traveling together, athletic teams attending competitions, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and business travelers in need of private collaborative space. Marriott has not yet announced when the communal guest room inventory will debut, but 2017 is shaping up to be a significant year for the expanding Element brand.

Take a look for more here.

marriott element communal guest rooms

Photo courtesy of Marriott International

Steady Growth Is Expected for US Hotels in ‘17 and ‘18

According to STR and Tourism Economics’ forecast, the US hotel industry is projected to see slower but steady growth through 2018.

For the total year 2017, the industry is predicted to report a 0.3% decrease in occupancy to 65.3%, a 2.8% rise in average daily rate to $127.34 and a 2.5% increase in revenue per available room to $83.20. This is below the historic RevPAR growth rate of more than 3.0% for each year from 2010 to 2016. This year independent hotels are projected to see the largest increases in both ADR and RevPAR.

For 2018, US hotels are likely to report a 0.2% decrease in occupancy to 65.2% but increases in ADR (rising 2.8%) and RevPAR (increasing 2.6%). All seven Chain Scale segments are expected to see a decrease in occupancy.

“Demand has outpaced supply in terms of growth for seven consecutive years, but we expect that to change in 2017 and continue in 2018,” said Amanda Hite, STR’s president and CEO. “In an environment where occupancy is flat or slightly declining, ADR is the lone driver of RevPAR, which is why we expect RevPAR growth in 2017 and 2018 to be slower than the industry average of the past 30 years.”

See Business Travel Executive’s article here.

The World’s Biggest Passenger Plane

Last week, the Emirates airline showed off its newest plane that will soon begin to service Logan Airport- a massive A380. Massport spent $30 million renovating Terminal E to accommodate it.A private cabin on the upper level.

Made by Airbus, the wide-body A380 is the largest passenger plane in the world, with two levels, semi-private suites, shower spas, and an on-board lounge.

The A380 that’s flying into Boston is currently configured to seat 491 passengers, with 14 private suites, 76 business class seats, and 401 economy seats.

Massport had to add new jet bridges to three gates at Terminal E to accommodate the two tiers of the new A380, which is about 16 feet taller than a 747. The wingspan of the massive aircraft, which can weigh as much as 575 metric tons, is about 262 feet.

Visit The Boston Globe for more here.

Airbnb’s Influence on Hotel Occupancy Threatens Industry Profits

Business Travel News says a report from Morgan Stanley Research suggests that a decline during 2016 in the number of compression nights at U.S. hotels could indicate a significant threat to the industry from alternative accommodation providers like Airbnb.

Last year, compression nights, defined as nights when hotel occupancy is greater than 95 percent, fell 17 percent year over year among the 25 U.S. markets with the most hotel rooms. That is the first time that’s happened since 2009. Additionally, though occupancy remained more than 1 percent higher in 2016 than in 2014, compression nights dipped 8 percent below 2014 levels.

But are Airbnb and its counterparts to blame for fewer compression room nights? The signs point to yes, according to Morgan Stanley.Morgan Stanley found that Airbnb use rose from 12 percent of travelers in 2015 to 18 percent in 2016. That trend, the firm says, is expected to continue in 2017.

For more, click here.

Global In-Flight Wi-Fi Coverage Will Grow in 2017

Business Travel News reported on the expansion of in-flight wi-fi.

In-flight Wi-Fi is available on 39 percent of available seat miles globally and 83 percent of U.S. carriers’ ASMs, according to Routehappy’s 2017 Wi-Fi Report.

Globally, the number of carriers that offer in-flight Wi-Fi is 70, 11 more than at this time last year. Coverage should increase further this year, as several major global airlines reached agreements in 2016 to add or expand Wi-Fi, according to the report. “2016 was the year that airlines outside the U.S. committed to high-quality in-flight Wi-Fi at a rate only previously seen by U.S. carriers, and 2017 will see those commitments come to life,” Routehappy CEO Robert Albert said.

Delta, United Airlines and Emirates offer the most Wi-Fi-enabled ASMs. Virgin America was the only U.S. carrier to have Wi-Fi available on 100 percent of its flights, according to Routehappy. Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America in December. As the report came out, JetBlue announced completion of Wi-Fi installation on all its planes, though the service is available only when flying above the contiguous U.S. On flights longer than 2,800 miles, Emirates, United and Lufthansa have the most expansive Wi-Fi offerings, the report indicated.

Airbnb’s Influence on Hotel Occupancy Threatens Industry Profits

A report from Morgan Stanley Research suggests that a decline during 2016 in the number of compression nights at U.S. hotels could indicate a significant threat to the industry from alternative accommodation providers like Airbnb.

But are Airbnb and its counterparts to blame for fewer compression room nights? The signs point to yes, according to Morgan Stanley. In another report—titled Who Will Airbnb Hurt More—Hotels or OTAs? … One Year Later—Morgan Stanley found that Airbnb use rose from 12 percent of travelers in 2015 to 18 percent in 2016. That trend, the firm says, is expected to continue in 2017.

For more, click here.

Amtrak Dominates Northeast Corridor Travel

Amtrak has come to dominate commercial travel in the corridor connecting Washington, New York and Boston. Amtrak, offering high-speed trains, online ticketing and work station amenities, has eaten away at airlines’ share of passengers.

Amtrak says that traffic in the Northeast corridor could reach 43.5 million passengers annually by 2040, almost four times today’s level.

For more from The New York Times, click here.