It has gotten so bad that group booking overall is on the decline, and has been for nearly a year. Planners, reluctant to face an ever-growing risk and slashed commission payments, are looking at other options to house attendees, but often the solutions are not adequate, especially for larger events. Stayker, a hotel booking platform, aims to reduce this risk for planners, matching attendees up with available hotels and circumventing much of the back-and-forth required in booking and negotiating rooms.
“I’ve done a lot of hotel contracting in the past and the biggest pain point is attrition and honestly the commission cuts — that’s the big elephant in the room nobody’s talking about.”
— Talley Richey, Vice President and Co-Founder at Stayker
Attrition refers to the penalties hotels will often contract planners to pay if a certain percentage of the room block is not filled.
Richey and fellow Co-Founder Amy Barker have been working in the hospitality business for over 30 years, and have seen many of these problems first-hand. The startup, which is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, connects planners to a network of hotels with available rooms and gives them a commission cut afterwards, aiming to add an element of security to what is quickly starting to feel like a high-stakes gamble.
Commission payments have dropped for planners over the past year, opening them up to further financial risk. In February, Marriott slashed third-party planner commissions from 10 percent to 7 percent, and Hilton, Hyatt, and Intercontinental Hotel Group soon followed suit, leading some independent planners to question their ability to stay in business.
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