Several small, independent hotel companies have raised commission rates to third-party planners, just as some large companies have lowered or are considering lowering the rates.
Preferred Hotels & Resorts launched a 60-day promotion in February called “We Appreciate You,” in which independent planners offered independent planners an 11 percent commission.
Plaza Hotel and Casino Las Vegas is offering a 12 percent commission for meetings booked this year. Dream Hotel Group, the owner of Dream Hotels, Time Hotels and Unscripted Hotels, is offering a 12 percent commission for meetings and groups booked and confirmed throughout 2018. Reservations for events must be booked and finalized by Dec. 31.
Some large hotel groups also have recently raised commission rates or vowed to maintain current levels. Eden Roc Miami Beach, Nobu Hotel Miami Beach and Nobu Hotel Los Cabos in Mexico increased their group commission from 10 to 12 percent on newly contracted groups that book a minimum of 10 rooms per night now through Dec. 31. Melia Hotels and Resorts has announced commissions as high as 16 percent on some properties. MGM Resorts International and Wyndham Hotel Group indicated that they intend to keep its group commissions steady, and have no plans to adjust them in the near future.
Marriott, on the other hand, cut its commissions in North America from 10 to 7 percent starting April 1. Hilton will do so starting Oct. 1, and Hyatt is considering whether to do the same. The commission cuts have been criticized by executives of organizations such as American Society of Travel Agents and Travel Leaders, who contend that the reductions downplay the value third-party planners and agents bring to the booking process.
The increase in rates at smaller hotel companies has many wondering whether planners will switch over to these properties solely because of the commission increase. David Bruce, founder and executive director at Meeting Planners Unite, thinks that it all comes down to ethics and what will benefit both parties.
“It would be in the planner’s best interest to look at properties with those higher rates that could best fit their event,” Bruce said. “But we [planners] have to look at what is best for the client and the independent. We can’t base our business on what name is on the wall. It is important to not only look at what is important for the client, but also offer properties that will be able to make you a profit as a small-business owner.”
Editor’s Note: We are updating this story as new announcements are made.