Knowland Finds Oil Spill Hurting More than Just the Environment

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Survey Finds Cancellations Spread as Quickly as Oil

"The businesses affected by this tragedy are going to play a large part in aiding the region’s recovery and will need every advantage to succeed.”

This week The Knowland Group, the world’s largest data firm in the global meetings and conventions industry, surveyed 50 hotels along the Gulf Coast to gauge the effect of the oil spill on the hospitality industry in the region. Knowland found that as both the oil slick and media attention have hit the region, cancellations have begun to wash ashore.

As the survey approached the epicenter of the spill, a hotel in Harvey, LA noted that, “because of the spill, all of the gulf coast, has turned into a ghost town, so we have had 8 to 10 cancellations.” Further along the coast, in Gulf Shores, AL, one hotel responded that “We have had 8-10 cancellations in the last 2 days”. 35% of hotels surveyed say the spill has caused cancellations, and many remained concerned that that trend could continue in the coming weeks.

Uncertainty has filled the void where guests used to be. Hotels fear that if the spill isn’t addressed quickly, the cancellations will linger for months to come. 42% of hotels surveyed say the spill has affected their ability to book future events. So far one hotel in Grand Isle, LA is projecting an average loss of 24 room bookings per weekend.

There is a silver lining for those groups who have booked events at Gulf Coast hotels, 62% of those hotels surveyed who have had events cancelled are not holding groups to the attrition clause in their contracts. This means no cancellation fees or in some instances a credit towards future bookings. This response is much more likely with larger chains, which are developing a regional response plan. However, smaller single property hotels are more likely to hold groups to the attrition clause, since it will have a significant effect on their revenue.

The spill has not only affected room bookings, but the ability for hotel restaurants to provide fresh seafood for their guests: “The main concern at this time is the fresh seafood supply for our restaurant. We are currently using outside sources for our seafood”, added a New Orleans hotel.

Knowland Group CEO Michael McKean offered his take on the developing situation: “Hoteliers will require an edge for their renewed business development efforts. That’s where the Knowland Group can come in and give them proven tools such as micro-targeted lead generation, sales force automation, meetings management, and experienced telesales support. The businesses affected by this tragedy are going to play a large part in aiding the region’s recovery and will need every advantage to succeed.”

This survey was conducted over a two day period from May 3-4, 2010.

About The Knowland Group
The Knowland Group is a proven innovator, developing intuitive marketing products and services that streamline and support event and group sales in the hospitality industry. The company, headquartered in Salisbury, MD, serves over 2,000 hotel clients and 17,000 users globally. Recently featured on the Inc. Fast 500 List, The Knowland Group is the second fastest growing company in the travel industry. For more information, visit http://www.KnowlandGroup.com, call 410-860-2270 or follow us on Twitter @knowlandgroup.

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Jean Nickerson

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