Cvent CONNECT Recap: Meet the Planner – Tips, Tricks, and Insights

In a captivating hospitality session, Vail Ross, senior vice president of global business development and marketing at STR Inc., and Michele Gebrayel, a corporate event manager at Ducharme, McMillen & Associates, broke down key hotel booking trends and discussed how meeting planners choose hotels. Here are some of the high-level insights.

Hotel Trends

  • ADR continues to grow positively.
  • The gap between transient and group ADR is getting closer.
  • Demand growth is increasing, as is the trend for expansion of meeting space.

What Matters to Planners When Choosing Destinations

This information comes from STR’s online survey of North American meeting planners, which has been conducted every two years since 1983. In 2017, the sample size was 865.

Top Criteria

  • Safe environment
  • Clean/attractive place
  • Easy for delegates to get to
  • Value for the money

Biggest Deterrents

  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Unsafe environment
  • High hotel room costs
  • Negative media

Top 5 Destinations for Future Meetings

  • Chicago
  • Washington, D.C.
  • New York City
  • Las Vegas
  • Orlando

Hear It Straight From a Planner

During a Q&A session with the audience, we discovered that Michele’s process for booking meeting space starts by using the Cvent Supplier Network to narrow her search to the highest-rated hotels She then narrows the list down further based on a hotel’s willingness to respond to her RFP, and then by price and hotel quality.

Michele emphasized that as a planner of smaller meetings, she faces challenges booking meeting spaces far in advance, as hotels tend to hold the space for larger groups until closer to the event. Her biggest pet peeve? When hotels think her business is too small and not worth their time.

Want More Planner Insights?

To learn more about planner behaviors, trends, and preferences, check out Cvent’s 2018 Global Planner Sourcing Report.


Madison Layman

Written by Madison Layman

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents. Since then, my word count has hit the millions and won't stop growing anytime soon. When I'm not writing or reading, you can find me binge-watching tv shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.