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HBAA predicts more smaller meetings and Airbnb growth

Industry association's newly-formed Technology and Innovation Committee identifies 2016 trends at members' meeting

Pictured: Caleb Parker and Leigh Cowlishaw

Smaller meetings and an increased take up of Airbnb dominated the latest predictions from the HBAA Technology and Innovation Committee.

Caleb Parker, chair of the industry association’s committee, revealed the trends at the annual HBAA Members Meeting in Leicester, touching on holographic presentations and hotel Wi-Fi upgrades in addition to the growth of the sharing economy.

He said free Wi-Fi would become the norm in all hotels, while venues would further embrace online booking tools in support of an increased demand for smaller meetings: 73 per cent of enquiries last year were for meetings with less than 30 delegates, according to

Parker said: “Most of the innovation we’re seeing enables a better guest experience and will ultimately grow the market.”

Parker also pinpointed an increase in venues’ capacity to host virtual and hybrid meetings, further consideration of Airbnb as a distribution channel and personalised approach to venue website to create a sense of ‘engaging the local team instead of a static brand’.

HBAA chairman Leigh Cowlishaw added: “As technology continues to dominate the way in which we interact, book, view, feedback and compare business travel and meetings, it is increasingly important for the HBAA to share technology developments that will change and enrich our experiences and support our choices and behaviours.”

  • Scott Taylor of advance city marketing 18/04/2016

    The growth of Airbnb is faster in adding rooms to its available inventory in a month than any international hotel group does in a year. For destinations, this can increase the bed stock in the market at an exponential rate and allow towns and cities that find it difficult to secure a traditional hotel investment to compete. Savvy delegates are getting on with with the sharing economy, and hotel brands face a fast growing market entrant. We've seen Uber taking on the traditional taxi model, and now it's Airbnb taking on the global hotel brand model. This can have serious impacts on a hotel brand value on their balance sheet, many already weakened by the brand consolidators like expedia,, and the like. Will an Airbnb model take on providing meeting rooms and managing distressed inventory not serviced through the traditional model?
    You can bet on it!

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