Convention hotels face uncertain 2009
By Chad Church | hotelnewsnow.com
As the United States economy continues to struggle in the fourth quarter of 2008, no hotel segment is immune to the effects of falling demand. That is certainly the case with convention hotels, where bare-bone travel budgets have paved the way for an uphill battle to maintain occupancy and rates. With the increase of room supply and declining demand growth levels, negotiating power will continue to shift to the customer as sales staff at these properties fight for a smaller client pool with shrinking budgets. Convention segment overview At STR, we define a convention hotel as a property with a minimum of 300 rooms and large meeting facilities (20,000 square feet of meeting space minimum). As of October 2008, the STR U.S. hotel census database identified 847 convention properties, totaling 556,419 guestrooms. This represents a 1.0-percent increase of available guestrooms from October 2007 (compared with 2.5-percent growth industry-wide).