Directors of Sales and Marketing ✪ Hilton New York and Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers
New York City’s Incomparable Convention Complex
What is — and how have planners responded to — NY 5000? Cahill: Together, NYC & Co., Hilton New York, and Sheraton New York Hotel & Tow- ers offer a convention complex with 5,000 guest rooms, 100 meeting rooms, and a total of 225,000 square feet of meeting space, all within one block in Midtown Manhattan, called NY 5000. It has become a viable option for customers who are looking for an “unconventional” meeting alternative in New York City, giving clients the benefits of a convention center in the heart of Midtown in two dynamic hotels.
What are meeting professionals asking for now that they weren’t asking for a year or two ago? How are you responding to that need? Cahill: Customers are asking for flexible terms and conditions as well as favorable room rates. The uncer- tainty in the economy has resulted in shorter booking cycles. It is also interesting to see the effect that social media has had on the group meeting experience. It is now an active platform to engage with our group customers, allowing the hotel to interact with clients directly.
CAHILL: With more than 151,000 square feet of meeting space, the 1,981-room Hilton New York puts groups in easy walking distance of the city’s most popular attractions.
FISCHER: A $150-mil- lion transformation of the 1,781-room Shera- ton New York Hotel & Towers will debut this March, giving planners an even better reason to consider NY 5000.
What are the advantages of NY 5000 for meeting planners? Fischer: NY 5000 pro- vides a state-of-the-art, renovated package of hotel rooms and meet- ing space in the best city in the world, to
help drive attendance without the high cost of a convention center. CHANGERS 90 pcma convene January 2012
What challenge do you think the meetings industry has successfully overcome in the past year or so? What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry in 2012? Fischer: Showing that meetings are not taboo, but a vital part of an organization’s ability to provide direction and strategy in a cost-effective manner during uncertain economic conditions. The challenge is planning further in advance to take advantage of softer pricing, as well as the overall lack of confi- dence in the recovery. With a diminished supply of new hotels coming into the marketplace, room rates will continue to rise, so waiting too long to plan a meeting will end up costing more. n