Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

Welcome back to Extra, Extra!, Convene's weekly news supplement.

First up is the news, reported by Las Vegas guide VegasTripping.com, that Wynn has begun charging $30 a night for an extra bed in its hotel rooms. JohnH writes:

Now I could spend my time here getting vociferously angry over this policy, but I have made my opinion toward this fee more than clear in the past. I hate this new trend as much as I hate resort fees, but just like the latter, this thing is starting to spread across the industry and there's little that any of us can do about it.

I guess those days of doubling up with a colleague when traveling to a conference — and saving a lot of money in the process — are over, or getting that way.

Next up: The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) announced last week that it has released the convention industry's first two apps for the iPad and Android smartphones. The apps, which are called myBCEC (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center) and myHynes (the Hynes Convention Center), for Boston's two big convention venues, include the following:
  • Searchable maps of all floors of the BCEC and the Hynes.
  • An interactive map of nearby restaurants, hotels and retailers around both convention centers, including web links and phone numbers.
  • Detailed event information, including the ability to share Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages with other attendees, build a personal schedule of sessions, send private emails to others, and build a list of favorite attendees and sessions.
  • Real-time transportation updates, including Logan flight statuses, MBTA alerts and local traffic alerts.
  • Sections on BCEC and Hynes basics, from the lost and found to details about setting up a future event.
Those have got to be helpful — not to mention fun to use! — for tech-minded meeting planners and attendees alike.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' latest lodging industry forecast "expects the focus to shift from demand growth to average daily rate (ADR) gains" in the U.S. hotel industry in 2011. PwC predicts that ADR growth — meaning, the average daily rate for a hotel room night in the U.S. — in 2011 will be 4.8 percent. Compare that to the past two years' drops in ADR, negative 8.6 percent in 2009 and negative 0.1 percent this year. The last year for positive growth in ADR was 2008, with 2.9 percent.

As you've probably heard, some people are upset by more-rigorous airport security procedures, particularly the pat-down that passengers must submit to if they refuse to enter (or cannot enter) body scanner machines. But the head of the Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole, says the old pat-down method was inadequate. USA Today writes:
[H]e said that the new search techniques were necessary because tests of airport security had repeatedly identified the old pat-downs as inadequate. That weakness took on new relevance after a passenger aboard a Northwest Airlines jet on Christmas day last year smuggled a bomb in his underwear. The bomb ignited, but did not explode and the plane landed safely.
Finally, some more-encouraging news: The Baltimore Sun came out in favor of a new proposal to replace the Baltimore Convention Center, built in 1979, with a new hybrid convention and arena. The newspaper's editorial board writes:
[T]he plan calls for knocking down the original convention center ... and replacing it with a four-story, multipurpose building. The new structure would house an 18,500-seat arena that would be ringed with shops, restaurants and movie theaters. This building would also provide space for convention center functions and would be linked to nearby hotels. The combined arena-convention facility would add about 700,000 square feet of new exhibit and meeting space.
The best of luck to the city of Baltimore in getting this cool hybrid facility built. And that's all for this week. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

No comments: