Hotels expect occupancy and the rates they can charge both to continue to soar through 2006, so corporate meeting buyers may be turned down by a property because the meeting does not produce enough revenue, not just due to lack of available space, said hotel executives at the MeetingWorld conference held in New York on July 26-27.

Even if a hotel has room for a particular group, they may wait for a better offer, said Fred Shea, vice president of sales operations for Hyatt Hotels Corp., during the conference's keynote session on meeting industry trends.

"Planners have to be more flexible on site selection," Shea said. "Hotels may be choosy."

Rich Del Colle, Lexington, Mass.-based meetings and events supplier manager Americas for Hewlett-Packard Co., told conference attendees that corporations would hold fewer meetings in the future, due to cost control and consolidation. As companies become more proficient in strategically sourcing meetings,unnecessary events will be cut or combined with other events, he predicted.

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