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September 20, 2010

Travel Buyers Survey shows economy on the rebound

If you're looking for a bit of optimism in the meetings industry, then you need look no further than the recent Travel Buyers Survey conducted by Maxvantage.

Maxvantage was set up as a joint venture by American Express Business Travel and Maritz Travel, and the report focuses on the views of 90 travel buyers across the US. The over arching tone of the survey is that negotiating meetings contracts and finding available meeting space has increased in difficulty over the past six months, suggesting the industry is coming back to life.

The survey indicates that 60% of buyers sense gradual improvement and stability in the meetings industry. As such, buyers say they are facing a more challenging negotiating environment since the company conducted a similar survey in December 2009.

Of the buyers surveyed, 37% said finding availability was more difficult than it was six months ago, compared with 18% who said so in December. Additionally, 30% said negotiating lower rates was more challenging, compared with 18% in December.

Annual hotel rate data from Maxvantage also revealed that since January 2010 the drop in hotel rates started to level off and in second quarter hotel rates showed signs of stabilisation. Looking back, at the 2010 negotiating season, first quotes from hotels dropped from a maximum of $226 in May 2008 to a minimum of $134 in September 2009.

"Across the industry attitudes are increasingly optimistic as corporations are starting to invest in meetings again and travel and meeting professionals begin scheduling meetings," said Issa Jouaneh, vice president, Maxvantage and Global Meeting Solutions. "This renewed demand is making availability more challenging and is resulting in slight rate increases. By leveraging our extensive data repository to anticipate such industry dynamics, we are able to provide the insight to more acutely advise our clients through the meetings management process."


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