Regional facilities lose out to two-hour concept

Regional facilities lose out to two-hour concept
By admin

Conferencing facilities more than two hours out of town are losing out to properties in the CBD as time and budgets force conference delegates to stick to the city, Australia’s largest hotel chain has said.

While MICE properties within two hours of major urban locations saw "exceptional" growth in 2011, Accor spokesperson Peter Hook revealed that hotels further afield recorded softer bookings over the same period.

Accor’s CBD hotels fared best in 2011, followed by properties on the NSW Central Coast such as the Fairmont and Novotel Northbeach.

However, hotels beyond two hours drive from the city "aren’t doing so well", Hook said, noting that the ‘two hour principle’ was behind the trend.

"Resort-style hotels within two hours of a major urban location have a huge market within easy driving distance and are doing very well, [while] those further afield aren’t," he said.

With time and budgets an increasing priority for conference delegates, Hook said a "major trend" was emerging that was likely to affect other hotel chains.

"This is the current state of play in the MICE market. It started in 2011 and is very strong in 2012," he said.

Accor director of business events, Jennifer Dwyer-Slee, explained that the current economic climate was to blame, but added that time was also a contributing factor.

"CBD hotels are performing strongest because it’s cheaper and easier for delegates who are based in the city," she said.

And with many domestic flights less than three hours, she said most delegates would rather board a flight than tackle a long drive.

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