Buyer: 'Still Negotiating' Lodging Rates For 2009

"I am still negotiating, which is not normal for this time of year," responded Pamela Witherspoon, senior director of travel services for Universal Music Group, when asked what was new with her hotel program.
 [more] "I am finding that once I decline a hotel, they call me and ask what they need to do to remain in the program or get into our program. Some have said they will do anything within their power to stay in. Most are offering high-speed Internet access and much lower rates, and some are throwing in breakfast and parking."

Witherspoon's statements help corroborate expectations expressed in the second half of last year that rates would be more favorable and negotiations more lengthy than in the recent past.