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Starwood responds to 'seller's market' trend

In the new seller's market, will planners have to start paying for meeting space? According to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide president and COO Bob Cotter, if they want rock-bottom guest room pricing, they just might.

Speaking at a Motivation Show client luncheon last month, Cotter emphasized that Starwood intends to continue to be a strong partner to planners even as the hotel market shifts to a seller's market, which hasn't been seen in the past four years.

It won't be an easy partnership. Not only will the expected seller's market be exacerbated because of limited supply--new hotel construction ground to a halt during the recession--but also because Internet transient pricing has changed the playing field, said Cotter. "We have to talk together about why a transient price can be lower than a group rate," he said, "and how we can set appropriate rate expectations."

"We're coming into a radically different environment, and there's a lot of misinformation. It seems to me that the most important thing to be talking about is the way we talk to each other." --By Regina Baraban, editor, Insurance Conference Planner, sister publication to Special Events

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