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   A Penton Media Property August 7, 2008 Volume 4, Number 8
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hotel Occupancy Rates Fall in First Half
Baltimore Launches Convention and Tourism Board
What’s in a Name?
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With APEX on Demand, you can view a series of webinars about the industry's standardized forms and practices 24/7 by simply clicking here!
Up First
Hotel Occupancy Rates Fall in First Half
Hotel occupancy rates slipped 2.6 percent to 61.4 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same time period last year. But, despite the softening in demand, average daily room rate and revenue per available room continued to climb, according to Smith Travel Research.

Occupancy rates took a sizable dip in the month of June, dropping 4.5 percent compared to June 2007. The downward trend is caused by a combination of factors, including a sputtering economy and a 2.3 percent increase in room supply, according to STR officials. “A slowing economy and significant food and fuel-price increases are squeezing consumers and dampening lodging demand,” said Mark Lomanno, president, Smith Travel Research, in a press release. “The combination of growing supply and slowing demand has resulted in declining occupancies and slower, though steady, average rate increases,” he added.

Read how much room rates have risen in the first half.

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Issues and Trends
Baltimore Launches Convention and Tourism Board
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon created a new governing body, the Baltimore Convention and Tourism Board, which will oversee the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Authority and the Baltimore Convention Center.

Under this new model, BACVA and BCC will continue to run as separate organizations, but they will report to this new board, chaired by Edwin Hale, chief executive officer at 1st Mariner Bank and former chairman of the BACVA board of directors. Previously, BACVA reported to its own board of directors while the convention center reported to the mayor’s office.

City officials say the new structure will lead to greater efficiency, a more seamless sales process, and an enhanced customer experience. BACVA and BCC will develop a joint marketing plan and goals for the sales teams that reflect the mission of both organizations. A more “cohesive sales and marketing message” will make Baltimore more competitive and allow the destination to make better use of the space at the convention center, stated Tom Noonan, BACVA president and CEO.

Read how many room nights Baltimore booked in 2008.

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Perspectives
What’s in a Name?
By Sue Pelletier
We've all heard about Texas philanthropist Ima Hogg (who, contrary to popular belief, did not have a sister named Ura), but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to strange names—as evidenced in many a registration list, I’m sure.

Which makes me want to ask: What's the weirdest name you've come across? Either drop a comment here or drop me an e-mail with your oddities, then look for a compilation in our October issue.

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