U.S. election hotel parties down by half this year

UNITED STATES Fewer than half the number of U.S. hotels that normally host election night parties did so this year, according to a survey by The Knowland Group.

While a majority of hoteliers surveyed say they are accustomed to elections meaning big group business, less than a quarter had actually booked an event related to the 2010 midterm elections on Tuesday.

The survey finds that 54% of U.S. hotels typically host some sort of election night watch party, usually held either by an individual candidate for office or a political party. They are a way to celebrate the end of the campaign, thank volunteers and supporters, and watch the returns. Although 65% of hoteliers surveyed say this type of business is either very important or somewhat important for their hotel, only 23% report having any such events booked this year.

Election parties can vary greatly in the amount of space reserved. The survey finds that 21% of election parties booked less than 2,500 sq. ft., while 38% used 2,501 to 5,000 sq. ft, 24% used 5,001 to 10,000 sq. ft. and 17% used more than 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

A plurality of election night hotel parties, 40%, are sponsored by an individual candidate. Local political parties account for an additional 28%, while state or national political parties hold about 16% of them. The remaining 16% are listed as “unsure/other.”