The Hotel Room Block Model Is Under Industry Review
New research reveals booking trends of large-scale, urban convention attendees
 

New York City (April 9, 2019) - Hilton, NYC & Company and PCMA Foundation announced today that approximately half of all delegates attending large-scale, urban conventions are circumventing the established room-reservation process and booking accommodations on their own. The three organizations collaboratively conceived of and funded the “Room Block of the Future” study to better understand room booking behaviors within the business events industry, with the hope of developing a delivery system that better suits planner and attendee needs in an ever-evolving meetings landscape.

Kalibri Labs and Prism Advisory Group were lead research consultants on the project and identified the behaviors and motivations that are driving this decision-making. They jointly analyzed more than 2 million anonymous hotel and Airbnb guest records from conventions held in Houston, New York City and San Diego between 2015 and 2018 in addition to surveying a sample of U.S. business travelers who have attended a city-wide convention.

According to Mark Lomanno, Partner at Kalibri Labs, “One of the more surprising findings from the research was the fact that almost 25% of attendees at large city-wide conventions actually booked their accommodations at the hotels specified in the room block, but did not go through the traditional room reservation process resulting in them not being recognized in the room block.  Clearly, this segment of attendees room booking priorities were not being met by the existing process.”

Elaine Hendricks, Partner at Prism Advisory Group, added, “It was very unexpected to learn from the survey of city-wide attendees just how much it bothers them to lose control of their hotel-booking process — being generally unable to do the things they normally do in hotel bookings, such as accessing their loyalty benefits. It’s this desire for control that creates frustration and prompts a quarter of them to make transient bookings in convention hotels to get what they want.”

Better booking model
“Partnering with PCMA Foundation and NYC & Company on this project was a natural collaboration as we are all committed to innovating within the room block space and know true innovation will only occur after understanding the buying behaviors and needs of the guest or conference attendee. We all recognize the meetings industry is rapidly evolving and that it’s crucial to adapt to changing customer preferences to maintain relevance,” said Frank Passanante, senior vice president, Hilton Worldwide Sales, Americas.

Research findings could profoundly shift how cities, hospitality organizations and business events professionals organize meetings and conferences.

“The results of ‘Room Block of the Future’ reflect a shift in the industry that CVB’s must adapt to,” said Jerry Cito, executive vice president, convention development at NYC & Company. “The findings will help NYC & Company educate planners and suppliers on the need for flexibility, pricing transparency and potential development of a cross-loyalty program.”

Loyalty, cost, choice and age
Hospitality loyalty programs, cost, room preferences and age are significant factors in booking behaviors and consumer trends, the study found.

A common attendee misperception — affecting booking patterns across different sizes and types of conferences — is that hotel rooms within the block are more expensive. However, the research proves that in a majority of cases (66 percent), rooms within the block are more affordable.

Room variety, or lack thereof, is another factor affecting booking patterns. Among many business travelers, a perceived rigidness and the inability to choose a preferred room type played a role.

Overall, younger attendees (59 percent) are more likely to use alternative accommodations.

Advancing the industry
The “Room Block of the Future” study is just one of the many research projects supported by PCMA Foundation, which is committed to empowering individuals and advancing innovations that fuel the future of business events.

"Through the generous support of PCMA members and partners, the Foundation has provided more than $800,000 over the past four years to fund education and research projects to help advance the business events industry," said Meredith Rollins, PCMA Foundation's executive director. "Part of our mission is to collaborate with industry partners, thought leaders, and academics to challenge current thinking and models; and all of the organizations that aligned to fund and execute this Room Block project is a great example of the value that can be created when we work together.
 

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For all media enquiries, additional comment and request for interviews, please contact:

Andra Miclaus at Davies Tanner
PCMA Foundation
PCMA@daviestanner.com
Tel: +44 (0)1892 619100

Ken Barna
Kalibri Labs
ken@kalibrilabs.com
Tel: +1 301-799-2609

Rachel Peace
NYC & Company
rpeace@nycgo.com
Tel: +1 212-484-5412

Colleen Hart
Hilton
colleen.hart@hilton.com
Tel: +1 703 883 6616

About PCMA:
PCMA educates, inspires and listens, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Our mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 40 countries. Visit us at pcma.org and foundation.pcma.org.

About Hilton:
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 17 world-class brands comprising more than 5,600 properties with nearly 913,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world’s best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its nearly 100 year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors, nearly 85 million members who book directly with Hilton have access to instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

About NYC & Company:
NYC & Company is the official destination marketing organization and convention & visitors bureau for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For more information on meeting in New York City, visit nycgo.com/makeitnyc.

About Kalibri Labs:
Kalibri Labs evaluates and predicts revenue performance using its proprietary algorithm to generate the Optimal Business Mix for individual hotels, revealing the most promising opportunities to pursue along with specific direction on how to find and convert them. The Hummingbird PXM revenue strategy and benchmarking platform also includes the industry’s most robust profiles for travel agent and OTA production. The Kalibri Labs database, updated monthly, is comprised of ADR, room revenue, room nights and acquisition costs from over 7 billion guest stays adding 100 million each month from over 33,000 hotels dating back more than 5 years to give an expansive view of the U.S. hotel industry. Real estate developers, brokers and others involved in hotel transactions use Kalibri Labs data to improve underwriting with a more granular view of each market and benchmarks and trendlines for both individual hotels and sub-markets for all U.S. metro areas. For more information, please visit KalibriLabs.com

About Prism Advisory Group
The Prism Advisory Group (PAG) is a Boston-based travel and hospitality consulting practice that focuses on bringing innovative solutions to business problems. PAG is built around a core team of executive partners, and highly skilled collaborators, all of whom have held senior positions in the travel industry. The group specializes in uncovering bold and pragmatic solutions to business challenges with a focus on delivering transformative growth. PAG's skill sets include strategy development, sales, marketing, research and business solutions and their clients include some of the most recognizable names in travel.  For more information, please visit PrismAdvisoryGroup.com.

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Media Contact

Rachel Peace
212-484-5412 rpeace@nycgo.com
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