The Knowland Group Releases Oil Spill Survey Findings Following Memorial Day

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Increased Cancellations, Increased Impact as Spill Magnifies

the difference is the pricing

The Knowland Group, the world’s largest data firm in the global meetings and conventions industry, today released their third round of survey findings on the effects of the Gulf oil spill on the region’s hospitality industry. Knowland surveyed 50 hotels across the Gulf Coast that host meetings and events and found 60% of hotels experiencing group booking cancellations, up 18 percentage points from the survey conducted two weeks prior, and up 25 percentage points from the group’s initial survey.

Hotels are also seeing increased difficulty in booking future events, with 28 percent of those surveyed stating significant difficulty in booking future events; double the amount from the previous survey. Additionally, 28 percent of those surveyed described the effect of future bookings as moderate, a 20 percentage point increase.

The spill seemed to have mixed effects on the recent Memorial Day weekend, one which typically sees bookings by families enjoying the first official holiday of the summer. 39 percent of hotels surveyed stated that they had cancellations over the weekend directly related to the spill while 26 percent had an overall decrease in business from the previous year.

Some of those surveyed hotels stated that while families were less numerous than years before, clean up workers and other responders to the spill were making up for lost room revenue. However, this does not necessarily mean increased revenues for those hotels. One hotel manager on the Louisiana coast noted that “the difference is the pricing”, while she is booking two occupants in an overnight room she is
“losing 50 people using the meeting space at the same time, which affects overall revenue in the long run”.

This survey was conducted over a two day period from June 2-3, 2010.The full survey results can be found below.

1.    Have you had group booking cancellations that you attribute to the oil spill?

Yes – 60%
No – 40%

2.    Is the oil spill having a negative impact in your ability to book future events?

Yes – 62%
No – 38%

If yes, would you characterize the impact as:
a.    Significant – 28%
b.    Moderate – 28%
c.    Minimal – 44%

3.    What time frame for future events is being most adversely affected?

a.    Right now – 34%
b.    3-6 Months – 45%
c.    6-12 Months – 13%
d.    Over 1 year – 8%

4.    Was the oil spill cited as a reason for cancellations over Memorial Day weekend?

Yes – 39%
No – 61%

5.    Did your hotel experience a decrease in bookings compared to previous years as a result?

Yes – 26%
No – 74%

6.    Did your hotel offer any deals or incentives to bring in business over Memorial Day weekend?

Yes – 28%
No – 72%

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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