Booking Windows Keep Getting Shorter and Shorter
The short-term booking window is here to stay. The average booking window for off-site meetings is now only 36 days, according to a survey of 150 corporate planners who booked 15 off-sites in the last 12 months. For short-term meetings, about half of planners (53%) said they needed just two to three days to find a facility; 33% needed four days. Planners defined short-term meetings as those booked just 13 days out. “These numbers represent a fundamental shift – from a more planned and budgeted meetings strategy to an ad-hoc, off-budget strategy. The number of short-term meetings is a far greater percentage of overall meeting demand than we ever expected,” said Mike Mason, founder of Zentila, a new meeting planning site. The survey was conducted by Zentila and the marketing firm Ypartnership.
Site Selection Checklists Measure Tech-Readiness
How well a venue shapes up technologically is playing an increasingly important role in site selection. To help planners measure and gauge technology during a hotel site inspection, a set of free, downloadable checklists has been created by meeting tech gurus Corbin Ball, CMP, and James Spellos, CMP. TechSpec incorporates scoring that is weighted to reflect current technology needs. It includes items like: wired and wireless guest room connectivity; in-house (24/7) Internet guest room support, and in-room safe with outlet for computer charging.
Sustainability: More Than a Sideline
“The event industry has twice the responsibility – in our own businesses first, looking at systems, processes and impacts, and by helping our clients. . . . Sustainability is more than a sideline philosophy. It’s a systematic, enterprise-wide practice, and businesses need to increase the value of their experiences with a well-structured narrative for all stakeholders” – Bruce MacMillan, CEO of MPI, in a report on sustainability to the UN
Teambuilding Tool: Check Your Digitals at the Door
Are your meeting delegates overly tuned in to technology? Help is on the way. The Renaissance Pittsburgh is offering a Zen and the Art of Digital Detox package to groups as a fun teambuilding exercise. Options include:
– Attendees surrender all electronic devices on check-in, to be returned upon departure.
– Delegates’ rooms are stocked with literary classics – rather than TVs, phone and iHome dock stations.
– Attendees turn over all electronics before an afternoon teambuilding exercise, such as kayaking on the nearby Allegheny River.
Go Green to Save Green
RockResorts, the luxury hotel and resort chain, is offering savings of up to 5% to planners who participate in an Echo-Meeting Incentive Program. Planners earn the savings by adding environmental and sustainability features, including: offsetting travel for 20% of attendees by using a carbon calculator; arranging for 50% of meeting attendees to share shuttle transportation; eliminating plastic water bottles; running a paperless meeting; donating to a designated nonprofit in a sum equal or greater than 4% of the master account, or partnering with a local nonprofit on a volunteer project. The program is tiered to offer flexible options and several levels of rebates.
Soap Redux Program Recommended by MPI
For planners seeking green options, Meeting Professionals International has endorsed Clean the World, a nonprofit organization that collects and recycles soap and shampoo products discarded by hotels. The discarded products are sanitized and treated with steam and pressure before being packaged and delivered to homeless shelters, missions and developing countries. So far, Clean the World has reprocessed and distributed over 380 tons of soap, shampoo and other amenities.