Current conference booking trends

Best Western Hotels Deutschland GmbH

[Translate to English:] Best Western Palatin Kongresshotel

When choosing a hotel, what do meeting planners look for first? Is the issue of “green meetings” an important one, for example? Research by Best Western Hotels Deutschland provides answers to these questions.

Anew study by Best Western Hotels Germany provides information on the latest meetings booking trends and the criteria that sway businesses’ hotel choices. In total, more than 250 meeting planners from companies large and small took part in the survey, permitting a representative picture of the relevant clientele. “We know the MICE market in Germany very well, but we wanted to take a closer look at current trends,” Yvonne Hentschel, Marketing Director Business Travel and Meetings Market at Best Western Hotels Deutschland, explains.

One finding in the study is that for 18.3 percent of all companies “green meetings” offers take priority in booking decisions. But for 81.7 percent they are not an issue in the choice of hotel. Similarly, “healthy meetings” are an important criterion for a minority of 23 percent only.

“The subject of sustainable meetings is not yet relevant to most bookings in the market. At present one-fifth of companies consider it an important aspect – although there is certainly potential for development here, providing the positive business trend continues and green issues are not overlaid by other criteria in the decision process, such as the question of costs,” Hentschel says.

Also interesting are the findings on social programmes. Forty percent of the businesses interviewed consider these a permanent fixture in their events. Thirty-six percent are interested in accompanying programmes but are deterred from arranging them by budget considerations, and a quarter of companies are not interested in programmes of this kind at all. But more than 40 percent of businesses do cite offers from hotels as helpful in deciding on social programmes. So properties able to offer a suitably wide range of accompanying programmes will certainly secure a competitive edge.

Last but not least, the survey of meetings bookers indicated that online reservation systems are playing an increasingly prominent part in event organisation. Only 7.7 percent of respondents make no use of online portals at all, giving preference instead to printed material as a source of information and for booking. But 36 percent do at least use online portals for specific inquiries about event bookings, and more than half of all businesses refer to them for information and research in their meetings organisation. “Nowadays the MICE segment would be inconceivable without online portals. However, they are used more for information and research, with a smaller proportion of bookers actually visiting digital platforms with a concrete request for a proposal. Particularly with specific bookings for complex events, personal advice and service are still to the fore,” Hentschel notes.