Hotel Online  Special Report

Benchmark's Top Ten Meeting
Industry Trends for 2005


THE WOODLANDS (HOUSTON), TEXAS, January 2005 - Benchmark Hospitality International, which manages 28 award-winning resorts, conference centers and hotels in the United States and Japan, announces its annual "Top Ten Meeting Industry Trends" for the new year, as observed by its properties.

TREND #1  Wired!

Companies have rethought wireless Internet technology due to heightened security and privacy concerns.  Requests are for high-speed "wired" Internet access via T-1 lines, etc., for use with meetings and conferences. 

Although tethered Web access is the norm for important meetings, wireless Internet access is still in demand for individual guest use. 

TREND #2  Click-through Business

Many Benchmark properties are seeing more than 50 percent of their new business for 2005 originate directly though the Internet.  The Web is essential to marketing a property, especially if its market is national or global, and properties continue to shift marketing resources in this direction.

Search Engine Optimization is as important as Website content in this click-through 21st century business environment.  When clients search, you'd better be at the top of their choices - and on the first search page!

TREND #3  Here Come the Big Ones

Small meetings continue to range in size from 30-40 participants.  Groups of more than 100 guests, however, are on the rise.  These meetings tend to include entire sales forces, company divisions, or have a significant training component involved. 

Whereas larger meetings might have been broken into smaller regional gatherings during the past few years, with the economy continuing its comeback, companies are seeking to re-energize management teams by bringing everyone back together to prepare for future growth.

TREND #4  Technology Sector - The Comeback Kid 

At last - business originating from the technology industry, which was so important in the 1990s, is reemerging.  This is especially so in markets like Silicon Valley, California, and the Dulles corridor outside Washington, DC.

TREND #5  Atkins Anyone? 

The Atkins revolution has fizzled.  Sensible eating with an eye toward balancing carbs and proteins has replaced the carbohydrate-free phenomenon.  Vegetarian options and interactive cooking choices are growing in popularity and demand as well.

Variety (in moderation) is once again the spice of life.  Atkins anyone?  Probably not.

TREND #6  Security

Although the national news might suggest otherwise, property security is not a huge concern on the part of many meeting planners and corporate groups at Benchmark properties. 

The exception is government or government-related business and meetings occurring at center city properties.

TREND #7  Teambuilding -- "Experiential Learning" or just for fun?

Experiential Learning is the new term used to differentiate between groups getting together for some diversionary fun and true teambuilding exercises. 

Teambuilding in general seems to be back to stay and culinary teambuilding programs are hot all over the country.   Dinner anyone?

TREND #8  A Day at the Spa 

Well, maybe not a whole day, but more and more corporate and leisure guests at Benchmark hotels and resorts are looking for a little spa intervention.

The "intervention" is not necessarily indulgence, just healthy lifestyle enrichment and recreational diversity - for both women and men.

TREND #9  Tight Purse

Budgets seem to be loosening up somewhat, although the moneybags are by no means wide open.  Clients may be willing to pay more, but have not forgotten their price negotiation skills honed over the last three years. 

Spending is occurring primarily for on-site receptions, special events, awards dinners, and themed events, however, the purse strings remain taut.

TREND #10  Blast Away Marketing

Email blasts and direct e-sales to proprietary customer and prospects lists have become an extremely effective and cost efficient means of generating new and repeat business.

At minimal cost, these email briefs can be strategically targeted - both in terms of the audience, offer and the calendar.


The pace of new business inquiries and business booked is very positive, in fact it may be roaring back.  Several Benchmark properties are experiencing a 2005 booking pace 50 percent or more ahead of last year.

This new and repeat business includes series meetings as well as independent sales and management meetings.  Life is good!

Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers and hotels both domestically and internationally.  For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at


The Woodlands (Houston), Texas

Ken Ellens
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax

Also See: Benchmark's Top Ten Meeting Industry Trends for 2004 / January 2004
Ten Meeting Industry Trends for 2003 - Observed by Benchmark Resorts, Hotels & Conference Centers / Jan 2003
Ten Meeting Industry Trends Observed by Benchmark Resorts, Hotels & Conference Centers / Jan 2002

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