July 7, 2010
Great Hotels Organisation’s top ten meeting and incentive tips and trends
1. Budgets are growing but still a deciding
The meeting and incentive market is slowly becoming more optimistic
following a considerable contraction throughout 2009. Budgets are cautiously
growing in comparison to last year and are predicted to increase further
in 2011; however this is still very much a deciding factor when it comes
to booking a venue. Many companies are again realising the importance of
face-to-face meetings (corporate clients in particular) and the number
of meetings, incentives or events organised through GHO’s MICE desk have
increased by 30% YTD in comparison to the same period two years ago, a
figure forecasted to rise further in 2011.
2. ROI is even more important than ever
Proving return on investment (ROI) is a big challenge that is becoming
increasingly important for buyers as companies start to invest again in
meetings and incentives. Although budgets are slightly higher this year,
they are highly scrutinised by CEOs and buyers need to prove that every
penny spent has a recognised return. With this in mind, special offers
and packages are becoming more popular as buyers look for value for money
and added extras.
3. Shorter lead times
Shorter lead times are becoming a noticeable trend, often booked only
a few months before the event is to take place. The lead times for events
booked through GHO’s venue-finding desk increased by 40 days in May 2010
– a difference of over seven weeks in comparison to the same period two
years ago. Many companies are wary of booking too far in advance in the
event of cancellation or postponement which in some cases is associated
with hefty fees whereas some are simply taking advantage of favourable
last minute rates and packages.
4. Relationships are key
There has never been a more important time to invest in face-to-face
meetings between suppliers and buyers. Buyers with short lead times are
more likely to go to suppliers with whom they have a good relationship
as they can rely on them for a fast response and the need for flexibility.
Suppliers who want to win business should be investing in face-to-face
meetings and focusing on creating good working relationships with buyers.
Investing in Great Hotels Meeting Forums or Road Shows are both cost-effective
ways of developing new relationships.
5. Flexibility and value for money
In an ever-changing market, buyers are looking for flexibility, added
value without extra cost and fast responses to RFPs. Suppliers need to
be flexible with a variety of deciding factors such as dates, price, cancellation
and deposit procedures and payment options in order to stay ahead of the
competition. Responding within 24 hours to a RFP is vital to create a good
first impression and suppliers should work with the buyers in partnership
to make sure the event can go ahead. Great Hotels Organisation offers “Your
Event, Your Choice” - a promotion giving buyers flexibility and choice
in order to help them plan a successful event.
6. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR and environmental awareness continue to be hot topics for the meetings
and incentives market. Many buyers are specifically seeking hotels that
have addressed some elements of sustainability and green programmes as
companies aim to reduce the environmental impacts associated with meetings.
7. Spa and golf not as important
With bigger but highly scrutinised budgets, buyers are focused on getting
the most out of their money and on the bare essentials - with decreased
attention on spa and golf facilities. The “no-frills” approach focuses
on the basics and team-building activities, if any, are often incorporated
into the body of the meeting with little or no time allocated for specifically
for networking or incentive activities.
8. More business, less pleasure
During the height of the recession, many businesses cut down on pure
incentive trips, focusing their budgets on business meetings. Incentives
will be slowly coming back on the menu towards the end of 2010 and throughout
2011, albeit more discreetly than usual. The pre- and post-dinner networking
activities traditionally incorporated into meetings are making a steady
9. Emerging destinations
Popular destinations for enquiries coming through GHO’s MICE desk throughout
the past year include Barcelona, Paris and Berlin. New destinations such
as Tallin, Vilnius and Sofia are also growing in popularity as companies
seek cost-effective venues in up-and-coming destinations.
10. Social media grows in importance
The world of social media is creeping into the meetings and incentive
industry. Face-to-face contact is still seen as having the most value,
but many buyers are utilising social media tools such as Tripadvisor to
seek feedback on venues as well as developing relationships through Facebook
with suppliers they’ve already met. Suppliers are also promoting their
venues through Facebook and Twitter.
For more information on GHO's meeting and incentive venue finding service,
their collection of meeting and incentive hotels, or to become an alliance
member email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call +44
(0) 20 7380 8557.
Great Hotels Organisation
Great Hotels Organisation (GHO) is part of Big Worldwide, a global,
privately owned travel, technology and media company headquartered in London.
Great Hotels Organisation’s family of brands include Great Hotels of the
World (http://www.ghotw.com), Special Hotels of the World (http://www.shotw.com)
and Metro Hotels. GHO provides a range of products, services and innovative
technology solutions for over 1,500 hotels worldwide including trade shows,
e-marketing, business travel consortia sales, meeting and incentive sales,
public relations, Meeting Forums and a private label GDS chain code (GW).
Membership of GHO is by invitation only and hotels must meet strict
criteria before being accepted. By acknowledging that each hotel has a
different set of marketing requirements, GHO allows its member hotels to
choose from a comprehensive collection of sales and marketing initiatives
in order to build their own ‘à la carte’ membership programme tailored
to meet their individual objectives. By doing this, members are able to
choose and purchase only the services they require, thus ensuring that
membership fees are focused on their specific requirements.