It’s time to reflect on the year gone by and project 2017 event trends. We enlisted expert Brian King, who always has an ear to the ground on what’s ahead for meetings as global brand officer at Marriott International. Here, he shares several trends he believes will shape the events industry in 2017. Take note.
Planners are really planning ahead.
Companies are booking multiyear deals at an unusually high pace. King says planners are coming to hotel companies like Marriott with a map of the regions in which they’d like to meet for the next three to five years and locking in properties across the country before room rates increase more as the economy improves. Another key factor: Corporations are booking out much further than they used to, putting pressure on all sectors to select sites quickly. “For planners who hold on and wait, it’s getting hard,” says King.
Attendance is up.
Organizations are exceeding room blocks regularly, reports King. The reason is that the economy’s “steady Eddie progress” may not be wowing experts, but it’s not scaring anyone either. “People are feeling pretty good and confident,” says King, which translates into a greater willingness to travel.
Big boxes are not dead.
Boutiques are chic, but their popularity is not coming at the expense of vast hotels that hold bigger groups. Larger properties in the works include Marriott Marquis Houston that opens in December, and Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, with a company-high 470,000 square feet of meeting space, won’t be far behind.