An industry power couple crucial to city success
The partnership between convention centres and hotels is both symbiotic and contradictory, and one that is regularly analysed by both industries on an international level.
We are all well aware that business events generate immediate cash injections and ongoing growth of the local knowledge economy, and that this positive impact is not limited to the host venue. Local hotels receive a huge increase in secured bookings while the rest of the city enjoys increased patronage to restaurants, shops, theatres, and other tourist attractions from visiting delegates.
Strong collaboration between hotels and convention centres can drive the overall appeal of destinations, drawing greater numbers of delegates. Yet alongside the significant mutual benefits this powerful relationship can yield, both parties still get frustrated at their inherent differences.
There is often intrinsic conflict between the long lead times convention centres work with and the profitability of hotels working with shorter term bookings. If we want a truly productive relationship, we have to respect and embrace these different requirements.
Here are my thoughts on how our industries can create better synergy for the benefit of all.
1. Cruicial Timings
We need to consider and respect that business events clients, as lucrative and high yield they may be, are not the hotel industry’s only client segment. Where we clash as industries is when the aforementioned lead times are not taken into consideration by both parties.
A major international event can be planned up to eight years in advance and over that period we may see several changes of general manager in any hotel that a client is dealing with. The result can be a short-term focus as hotels seek profitability for what they see as the immediate future.
This makes it increasingly difficult for convention centre clients to secure sufficient room blocks up to two to three years in advance, and it can endanger a convention centre’s chances of securing events which will deliver massive benefits for hotels, and the broader city.
It is imperative that convention centres and hotels work together to bridge this gap so that they can continue to attract these important customers to their city.
Fortunately, I have seen some very established hotel managers and many hotel owners and property investors understand the need for long term reputation protection for both their individual brand and the wider region.
Engaging in ongoing dialogue enables us to work in synergy and accommodate the different forward planning needs of both industries.