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HBAA launches industry leading Benchmarking Tool

Leigh Cowlishaw, HBAA chair
HBAA has launched the industry’s first simple meetings rates benchmarking tool, and has committed investment to the solution to enhance the value that membership provides.  Following a 2016 membership survey, HBAA identified that having access to on-tap meetings benchmarking data would be hugely beneficial when negotiating rates for simple meeting enquiries, and for supporting customer retention, allowing agencies’ energy and expertise to be utilised more effectively.

Leigh Cowlishaw, HBAA chair and director of supplier partnerships at Capita Travel and Events said “The HBAA set out clear objectives this year, with the launch of an industry leading, simple meetings Benchmarking Tool being high on our priority list for deliverables. This tool will not only provide value to our association members but will also give our corporate customers further confidence that rates being provided for such meetings are in line with the market.”

Michael Begley of Venuedirectory.com said, “It’s great to be working with the HBAA on this meetings benchmarking initiative as an HBAA Supplier Associate, and as a supplier to the industry. We believe this type of large scale analysis is only possible due to the advancement of technology in the MICE market. We endorse the view of the HBAA that this ongoing exercise will give valuable information to the industry and allow for more accurate strategic planning for venues whilst offering efficiencies in the venue sourcing market. We look forward to working with our existing HBAA clients and other members to help collate this data to give a robust reporting platform.”

This tool provides the ability to reduce the need for multiple options for simple meetings, allowing agency resources to be spent on more complex meetings enquiries and bookings.  There is the additional benefit that market rates will not be inflated due to false demand, which can happen when space is held for benchmarking purposes.

The tool is offered to “opt in” agencies at this stage, with the appetite to roll this out to venues in the coming months. The Conference Doctor was approached to support the project as an independent organisation equipped to deliver the bringing together of data and technology.  All data provided is anonymised and aggregated to produce average DDR, 24hr and group accommodation rates.  This data can be filtered by location, venue classification and a date range that can look backwards as well as forwards.

Jim Quintrell of The Conference Doctor says “The industry has been crying out for an impartial data source for robust benchmarking of meeting rates for many years. We were delighted to work with the HBAA and use our knowledge and technology to provide a solution specific to their requirements. The HBAA has become the first association to genuinely tackle this issue on behalf of their agent members and we believe the early adopting agents within membership are at the forefront of finally overcoming a perennial challenge for agents, venues and clients alike. These agents clearly demonstrate that transparency, innovation and industry knowledge are not just words on marketing collateral. We look forward to continuing to work with the HBAA as the application grows and evolves.”

On launch the HBAA Benchmarking Tool will already be aggregating over 60,000 meetings to produce the average delegate rate results. The meetings are taking place, or have taken place, in more than 400 locations across the globe in venues ranging from conference and training centres to hotels and unusual venues. There are 25 opted in agents with 8 more in the pipeline, and all of these numbers will increase daily.  

The Benchmarking Tool is accessible via the HBAA website and is only available to those who have contributed data.

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