Hotels in the Catbird Seat, Fresh New Spaces, & Shorter Showers in the Pipeline


News You Can Use for Meetings & Events

Hotels Gain the Upper Hand

With few new-built lodgings under development, experts think rising demand will boost domestic hotel occupancy rates to 30-year highs by 2016, according to REIT Magazine. And, as we all know, any squeeze in supply drives prices higher. Ryan Meliker, a senior REIT analyst for MLV & Co., told the magazine the average price per room in full-service hotels rose a whopping eight percent in 2014 over 2013. He said group travel demand was flat in 2013, up four percent in 2014, and will rise another four percent this year. The silver lining: Growing demand, combined with few new hotels, is driving widespread renovation of existing properties, which can’t help but create a better meeting experience for us in terms of design and tech. David Loeb, a senior analyst with Robert W. Baird and Co., told REIT he expects demand to exceed supply growth for at least the next two years. My takeaway: The sooner you book, the better….

Speaking of Improvements

Many of our favorite properties are expanding and sprucing up their meeting facilities at a record pace. Take the $29 million transformation of the former W Hotel into Le Méridien New Orleans, for instance. It added another 1,600 square feet to more than 18,000 square feet of existing meeting space. The opening last December also revealed a new palm-lined garden ideal for receptions. Meanwhile, up north, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago has added three new event spaces, bringing the total square meeting footage to 31,500. In keeping with The Donald’s reputation for state-of-the-art business, a single button controls everything in the sleek, new, and aptly named Riverside Gallery, Riverside Room, and Bridgeview Room—due to debut later this spring. Across the pond, Scotland’s mecca for golfers, Gleneagles, will open a new 26,910-square-foot event space this spring as well. It comes on the heels of a new Segway Assault Course for team builders, but that’s a whole ‘nother story….

Shower Buddy?

How long do you spend in a hotelshower shower? If you said 8.2 minutes, you’re average.Well, brace yourself. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to change that. Last August, the EPA granted $15,000 to a team of undergraduates at the University of Tulsa to develop a wireless device that tracks water usage in hotel showers. The device will fit most existing fixtures and transmit the data to a hotel accounting system—which can be set to add a surcharge to your bill. The students believe the device could shave a minute off each shower and reduce the average 17.2 gallons of water per shower by ten percent. Sure, we all want to save the planet. But think about it. How annoyed would you—or your VIPs—be to pay for an extra 60 seconds in the shower?


Photos: Shutterstock

Annette Burden

Annette Burden

Annette Burden has written and edited for Elite Meetings International since 2007. In addition to writing on travel for other publications, she founded and edited Meeting Traveler, Resorts & Great Hotels, and Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazines.

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