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Room blocks "a thing of the past" as Airbnb bites

The number of room nights booked by IAPCO members fell by 1.4 million in 2015
12/05/2016

Pictured: Jan Tonkin, president of the International Association of Professional Conference Organisers

The sharing economy is driving down the number of hotel room nights booked by meeting planners.

Figures from the International Association of Professional Conference Organisers (IAPCO) reveal the number of room nights booked by members (including associations, governmental and corporate) fell by 1.4 million to 2.43m in 2015. 

IAPCO’s survey results indicated that the rise of delegates booking accommodation through short-term letting sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO had prompted that decline.

“The big change, and to be expected, following the hike in 2014, was the drop in room nights managed by IAPCO members, from 3.817m to 2.429m leading one to question whether room blocks are a thing of the past,” an IAPCO statement said.

Elsewhere, the number of events organised by corporate members soared to 4,537, up 1,200 on the 2014 findings, and now accounts for more than half (53 per cent) of the events organised by the IAPCO membership. That came at the expense of association meetings, which accounted for 44 per cent of the body’s activity in 2014 (2015: 37 per cent). Overall figures surpassed predictions, with 8,591 events organised by the IAPCO membership.

Average participants per event fell by 9 per cent to 368, the lowest figure since 2010, while total square metres managed soared from 631,000 to 804,000, and average spend per delegate hit €1,620 (£1,276). 


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