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September 21, 2016
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Wednesday Roundup: U.S. Travel Buyer Compensation Up, New Event Space in Charlotte




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A new study suggests U.S. travel buyer compensation is on the rise, a new event space has opened at Charlotte Marriott City Center and New Orleans’ French Quarter is about to get a new Homewood Suites by Hilton today in the meetings and events industry. 

GBTA: Compensation Up for U.S. Travel Buyers

Average compensation for U.S. travel buyers has increased 1.8 percent year over year in 2016, according to a new study by the GBTA Foundation. 73 percent of travel guyers are satisfied with their compensation, while 7 percent are dissatisfied, results which are in line with the past two years and down from 2013. 

The findings are from the GBTA Foundation’s 2016 Compensation and Benefits study, which shows that GTP Certification holders earn $125,000, 9.6 percent more than their peers without it. In addition to a higher salary, buyers with their GTP are more likely to have at least one decade of industry experience, work at the manager level or higher and work for companies with travel spend of at least $10 million.

Other factors that affect income: Buyers with a bachelor’s degree earn roughly $20,000 more than those without one, and those holding a master’s or other advanced degree earn an additional $20,000. In the West and Northeast, average income is considerably higher than in the Midwest and South and income also increases with company travel spend, ranging from $88,000 at low spend companies to $147,000 at high spend companies.

The largest disparity, however, comes from the buyer’s position level. Directors earn an average of $161,000, 61 percent more than managers ($100,000), while managers earn roughly one-third more than experienced/entry level buyers ($74,000).

In terms of other benefits, denied contribution plans, such as 401k, are much more common than defined benefit plans offering a fixed payout (92 percent versus 33 percent). Large majorities of companies offer healthcare (82 percent) and flexible spending accounts (77 percent). Seven in ten companies offer flexible work schedules (71 percent), about two-thirds offer the option to work from home (63 percent) and just over half offer gym discounts or reimbursements (55 percent). Only a small share offer childcare discounts (20 percent). Transportation benefits are offered less frequently, with a majority offering mileage reimbursement (75 percent) and 31 percent offering public transportation discounts and 26 percent offering parking discounts or reimbursement. Companies often subsidize education and professional development for buyers with large majorities offering conference attendance reimbursement (80 percent), tuition reimbursement (79 percent), professional association dues reimbursement (73 percent) and continuing education opportunities (69 percent).

The study is based on an online survey of 303 travel buyers currently residing in the United States who are employed full time, and was fielded from June 7-16, 2016.

New Meetings and Event Space at Charlotte Marriott City Center

In venue news, planners looking to book in Charlotte have a new option. The Charlotte Marriott City Center has reimagined its meetings and events space, bringing new tech and networking amenities to the 20,000 square foot venue on the their floor of the hotel. 

The space consists of 13 breakout areas. There is an Event Hub pre-function collaboration area, which has a flex-connect table for recharging and space for event registration and breaks, as well as a City Center Boardroom, which at 660 square feet offers collaboration tools including clickshare, glass whiteboards, touchscreen monitors, magnetic panels and more. 

The Charlotte Marriott City Center has 446 newly renovated guest rooms, including 22 Stay Well rooms and four suites. There is also a FLEX fitness center, as well as access to local attractions like the NASCAR Hall of Fame, 7th Street Public Market, the Bank of America Stadium, Time Warner Cable Arena, the American Legion Memorial Stadium, the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, and local restaurants and bars. 

Homewood Suites by Hilton to Open in New Orleans’ French Quarter in April 2017

In New Orleans, a new Homewood Suites by Hilton is set to open in the French Quarter in April 2017. The 207-suite hotel will be a short walk to Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, the Central Business District and the Saenger Theater.

Each one- and two-room suite will have a fully-equipped kitchen, including a refrigerator and dishwasher. Guests can also take advantage of valet parking, flexible meeting space, business center, and swimming pool and fitness facilities. Additionally, complimentary daily full-hot breakfast, evening social Monday-Thursday, Wi-Fi and grocery shopping service for an additional fee, an outdoor grill, putt-putt green, billiard room and laundry room are all available. Prior to the hotel opening, the new Rampart streetcar line is expected to be completed, giving guests access to both the Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue lines with easy access to City Park, Audubon Park, the Garden District, shopping at Canal Place and the Riverwalk, among other local attractions.

Have a tip on major meetings and events industry news, or an inspiring story you’d like to share? Reach out at aleposa@questex.com

And keep visiting www.internationalmeetingsreview.com for the latest meetings and events industry news, trends and updates. 


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About the Author: Adam Leposa



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