"We did run into situations where we really had to do multiple rounds of negotiations, similar to last year," said Marwan Batrouni, senior director and global hotel practice area leader at BCD's Advito consultancy, "but it felt like it was a little bit more demanding than last year, especially in primary markets." Eric Jongeling, director of hotel solutions in the Americas for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, said many clients had a hard time getting hotels to even respond to requests for proposals, as the suppliers expected larger room night or spend commitments. That back-and-forth of trying to get hotels to bid added time to the negotiation season, Jongeling said. In North America, hotel rate increases averaged 2.7 percent year over year, according to Batrouni. "Not too bad," he said, "given that we were forecasting a little over 5 percent increase for the entire year." Not surprisingly, San Francisco proved the anomaly, as rates increased more than 10 percent year over year. In New York City, negotiated rates increased an average of 1.5 percent, while in Houston, rates dropped 0.2 percent. Chicago's average increase of 2.8 percent was on par with the region. Get the full story at BTN Read also "A Different Approach to Analyzing Auxiliary Spend" at BTN