Over the past year, major hotels such as Marriott and Hyatt have passed heavy commission cuts for event planners. This has added financial strain to the group booking process, which is already a huge challenge for organizers. Reserving a block of rooms for attendees means making a bet that enough attendees will register. If too many rooms are left unfilled — which happens often enough — planners may be on the hook for a penalty fee.

It’s unsurprising, then, that the group booking rate is declining, and likely will be for the next year or so. This trend has come up repeatedly in Cvent research and even hotel earnings. Not only are room blocks becoming less frequent, but the size of the groups are becoming smaller as well. For many planners, the financial risk is simply too much.

This is where Stayker enters as a newly-launched booking platform specifically designed for planners booking room blocks. The company, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, aims to reduce the growing risk associated with event housing, easing the burden on planners, and ultimately increasing hotel revenue.

Amy Barker and Talley Richey, Stayker’s co-founders, talked to Skift about the challenges facing event organizers and how Stayker works to reduce the booking hazards they face.

Check out this story, and many more, below.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at ic@skift.com or tweet @ikcarey.

Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter

The Future of Events and Meetings

Booking Startup Stayker Makes Room Blocks Less Risky for Planners: Event planners are putting their money on the line when signing a room block contract, and often the gamble is just not worth it. If Stayker catches on, the group booking rate may start to pick up again.

Expedia Tells Hotels Adding Resort Fees Will Lower Your Listings on Its Pages: Expedia Group’s stance on resort fees could have been drafted by a United Nations diplomat. Expedia doesn’t want to alienate hotels and seeks to pick up market share based on Booking Holdings’ more forceful position. But it’s hitting resort-fee-charging hotels right where it hurts — in the prominence of their listings.

Airbnb Signs 9-Year Sponsorship Deal With Olympics Ahead of Tokyo Games: That Airbnb chose the Olympic Games for its first-ever global sponsorship deal makes sense — the event both aligns with the brand’s ethos and will be a boon for its bottom line as it aims to go public in 2020.

Around the Industry

Airbnb Hosts Will Be Able to Pay to Fast-Track Verification of Their Listings:Airbnb — and other players in the short-term rental space — have a daunting task in trying to verify millions of home listings, along with an expanded array of tours and activities. With this push, it might just open up more players to liability from content offered on their platforms.

Travel’s Moment of Clarity: Sober Tourism Is a Real Business: There have always been travelers who don’t drink, but the “sober curious” lifestyle movement has created a defined market of people who are eager for trips, tours, and experiences that aren’t centered around alcohol. It’s surprising that the travel industry has only just started to respond.

Asia’s Airlines Cancel Annual Event in Hong Kong Due to Unrest: This is a pity. Asia’s biggest hotel meet, the Hotel Investment Conference Asia-Pacific, gritted its teeth and went ahead last month. Even a meeting at the airport or a venue close to the airport is better than canceling.

The Best Of EventMB

The Best of EventMB is our newest section, giving you a look into the most important and interesting content from EventMB, whether it be reports, articles, or resources for planners. EventMB joined the Skift family in September and is the largest online media resource for trends, technology, innovation, and education in the events industry.

Cvent CEO Reggie Aggarwal on the Future of Event Technology: We recently sat down with Cvent CEO and Founder Reggie Aggarwal to talk about his journey to success, the lessons he learned along the way, and the future of the industry.

What Growing Bidder Interest in WeWork’s Meetup Means for the Event Industry: Sources tell EventMB that bidding is happening for Meetup.com. What does that mean for the event industry?

Subscribe

Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [ic@skift.com] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

Subscribe to the Skift Meetings Innovation Report

Photo Credit: Conference attendees grab lunch at the hotel buffet. Province of British Columbia / Flickr