Independent planners have, for better or worse, always been… well, independent. David Bruce, founder and executive director of Meeting Planners Unite, always figured he and his brethren would someday coalesce. Little did he know it would take more than 30 years to make it happen, and Bruce never imagined he’d be the driving force behind the movement. But when Marriott International became the first chain to lower its third-party commissions from 10 percent to 7 percent, Bruce saw a need that needed to be addressed. (Hilton Worldwide and InterContinental Hotels Group have since joined Marriott in lowering commissions).
“Our organization was developed to be that voice for the independent planner,” he says.
In an industry first, Connect Independent Planners, Dec. 4 to 6 in Washington, D.C., will host third-party organizers. The planners will meet under one roof to develop strategies to navigate the new business terrain. Bruce discusses what lies ahead for independent planners here.
Why is the commission cut such a big deal?
Everyone keeps talking about 3 percent… it’s not 3 percent. It is 30 percent and 30 percent of somebody’s income is a hell of a hit. If you are making $100,000 now, you are now making $70,000. If you are making $50,000 you are now making $35,000. That’s pretty hard to accept.