Monthly Archives: February 2009

Hotel CEOs: Stop Bashing Travel

The business-travel sector has taken some public hits lately, as congressional leaders have blasted executives for holding junkets while getting federal funds. Now hotel-industry leaders are asking Congress to tone down the criticism.

In a letter to members of Congress, executives from ten of the nation’s largest hotel companies wrote: “We understand the economic pressures that have caused many companies to reduce business travel as part of broader cost-cutting measures. However, we are concerned that legitimate meetings, business events and recognition travel are now being portrayed as perks and symbols of excess.”

Get the complete details from the LA Business Journal

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Dear Senator Kerry – You Don't Get It!

igroupnews12Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has announced plans to introduce legislation that would prevent companies that have received bailout funding from hosting, sponsoring or paying for conferences, holiday parties and entertainment events. The bill will affect any companies that have received government help under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

“I’m sick and tired of picking up the newspaper and reading about another idiotic abuse of taxpayer money while our country is on the brink,” Kerry said. “Americans who play by the rules are losing their jobs and struggling to pay their mortgages. The companies that came to Congress in desperate need of help to stay afloat become their own worst enemies when they pull stunts like this. It’s an embarrassment that this legislation is necessary, but some companies clearly need a reality check to get their priorities straight so taxpayer money is used to get their house in order and not to pay for lavish parties.  Congress has zero tolerance for this kind of excess.”

Companies may seek waivers under the proposal from the U.S. Secretary of Treasury for events that the recipients believe are directly related to business operations. The secretary would have 30 days to respond. Violations will require company CEOs to reimburse the federal government for the cost of the event and pay a US$100,000 fine.

Our Response

Dear Senator Kerry,

We are ALL sick and tired of reading about, hearing about, watching about, and being made aware of about another idiotic abuse of taxpayer money while the country is on the brink (does idiotic abuse of taxpayer money include $75 million to study “smoking sensation activities”).

Corporations, Associations, and other Organizations who PLAY BY THE RULES are being chastised, embarrassed, and rebuked for holding or attempting to hold meetings and events that are of great value to their employees, attendees, and this country. 

These Companies, Associations, and Organizations that don’t come to Congress in desperate need of help to stay afloat would welcome the opportunity to conduct meetings and conferences that motivate, educate, and contribute to the growth and profitability of this economy and they don’t need a “reality check” from you, Congress or the Senate.

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Filed under Association meetings, business meeting, conference, conference center, convention, Convention and Visitors Bureau, convention center, corporate incentive, corporate meeting, event management, event planner, event planning, events, groups international, hotel, Hotel Incentives, hotel news, hotels, igrouphotels, igroupmanagement, igroupmeetings, igroupnews, independent meeting planner, meeting, meeting facilities, meeting planner, meeting planner guide, meeting planner incentives, meeting planner job description, meeting planner, event planner, meeting planners, meeting planning, meetings, meetings and conventions, plan a conference, plan a meeting, Request for Proposal, resort

Dear Senator Kerry – You Don’t Get It!

igroupnews12Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has announced plans to introduce legislation that would prevent companies that have received bailout funding from hosting, sponsoring or paying for conferences, holiday parties and entertainment events. The bill will affect any companies that have received government help under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

“I’m sick and tired of picking up the newspaper and reading about another idiotic abuse of taxpayer money while our country is on the brink,” Kerry said. “Americans who play by the rules are losing their jobs and struggling to pay their mortgages. The companies that came to Congress in desperate need of help to stay afloat become their own worst enemies when they pull stunts like this. It’s an embarrassment that this legislation is necessary, but some companies clearly need a reality check to get their priorities straight so taxpayer money is used to get their house in order and not to pay for lavish parties.  Congress has zero tolerance for this kind of excess.”

Companies may seek waivers under the proposal from the U.S. Secretary of Treasury for events that the recipients believe are directly related to business operations. The secretary would have 30 days to respond. Violations will require company CEOs to reimburse the federal government for the cost of the event and pay a US$100,000 fine.

Our Response

Dear Senator Kerry,

We are ALL sick and tired of reading about, hearing about, watching about, and being made aware of about another idiotic abuse of taxpayer money while the country is on the brink (does idiotic abuse of taxpayer money include $75 million to study “smoking sensation activities”).

Corporations, Associations, and other Organizations who PLAY BY THE RULES are being chastised, embarrassed, and rebuked for holding or attempting to hold meetings and events that are of great value to their employees, attendees, and this country. 

These Companies, Associations, and Organizations that don’t come to Congress in desperate need of help to stay afloat would welcome the opportunity to conduct meetings and conferences that motivate, educate, and contribute to the growth and profitability of this economy and they don’t need a “reality check” from you, Congress or the Senate.

Leave a comment

Filed under Association meetings, business meeting, conference, conference center, convention, Convention and Visitors Bureau, convention center, corporate incentive, corporate meeting, event management, event planner, event planning, events, groups international, hotel, Hotel Incentives, hotel news, hotels, igrouphotels, igroupmanagement, igroupmeetings, igroupnews, independent meeting planner, meeting, meeting facilities, meeting planner, meeting planner guide, meeting planner incentives, meeting planner job description, meeting planner, event planner, meeting planners, meeting planning, meetings, meetings and conventions, plan a conference, plan a meeting, Request for Proposal, resort

Bill Marriott Speaks Out On CNBC

Click here to view the video.

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Keep America Meeting

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Dallas Approves Omni As Convention Center Hotel

igroupnews12Taking another critical step towards building a controversial convention center hotel in downtown Dallas, the Dallas City Council has approved operating agreements with developer Matthews Southwest and operator Omni Hotels, the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau announced on Wednesday.

“Today’s vote underscores the importance of the hospitality industry to the economic health of our city,” Dallas CVB President and CEO Phillip Jones said in a statement. “We are already receiving calls from convention trade publications that have been monitoring the planned hotel’s progress. In addition, our sales staff is spreading the good news to groups who booked conventions in future years contingent on the hotel announcement, as well as to the list of potential clients who will not consider Dallas without an attached hotel.”

Having approved agreements with Omni and Matthews Southwest, the City of Dallas now plans to begin the process of selling revenue bonds with which to fund construction of the new headquarters hotel, which will open in 2011 adjacent to the existing Dallas Convention Center with approximately 1,000 guest rooms and approximately 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

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Mobile Hotel Bookings Show ROI In Recession

igroupnews12Hotel operator Marriott reported an earnings loss for the fourth quarter last week, but there’s one small encouraging sign: the chain’s mobile bookings.

Marriott Mobile generated $2 million in gross revenue between its August 2008 launch and the end of the year. But revenue from mobile bookings in January was headed upward fairly quickly.

Meanwhile, Omni Hotels’ mobile site has grown 85% in the past six months, and Hilton’s mobile channel has generated a 22% return on investment for the brand. Those kinds of numbers are bright spots in a tough time for hoteliers — and they show that even in recession, companies are willing to invest in and experiment with new media when the ROI is clear.

While some hotel operators have dipped their toes into mobile advertising, none has aggressively promoted its mobile site. But customers are finding the sites anyway, as often-early-adopting business travelers buy rooms wirelessly when travel plans change because of flight delays or bad weather.

One of the biggest drivers: convenience
A third of U.S. travelers have used their mobile phones to access the internet, although only 15% of travelers showed interest in purchasing travel using their handsets, according to a PhoCusWright survey based on about 800 responses. On the upside, 48% of travelers who earn more than $200,000 a year said they were open to getting travel offers, vs. 32% of those who earn less. Twenty percent of the highest-earning group said they were interested in mobile bookings, likely because they’re early adopters.

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