The stars have finally aligned according to an article in the March 2012 issue of MeetingsFocus. Group business is feeling its mojo again! The magic of meetings has cast a spell on the evil spirited economy of the past few years and booking hotel group business is fully on the rise. According to Tim Hart, Vice President of business intelligence solutions, room nights for hotel group business are projected to increase by 5.1 percent and ADR will grow 4.9 percent. MPI’s February 2012 Business Barometer confirms that big growth is coming to the hospitality and travel industry in 2012!
What mix of factors has moved these powerful prophecies from our industry leaders?
Employment is on the rise.
More people are working again! According to MPI, the numbers of those working are holding steady. MPI's Business Barometer reported that though February 2012 has dipped back to October 2011 levels, December 2011 showed the sharpest increase in meeting industry employment. Overall, employment numbers are the healthiest they have been in a number of years.
Travel restrictions have been lifted.
Visas have relaxed and we can expect to see more group and transient business from other countries as a result. Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News, shared at the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Governor's Conference this week that we cannot ignore what is coming our way with increased group business as a result of relaxed Visas. Hotels, resorts, CVBs and destination marketing companies should embrace this opportunity and prepare to be successful.
Value of meetings is realized.
More understanding of virtual meetings actually has proven the value of face-to-face meetings. Planners understand how they can be used together as a complete communication tool. Planners are also seeking ways to use new technologies cost effectively.
What can we expect moving forward? The changes experienced in 2007-2010 have prompted companies to assess how they “do” meetings. We can still expect shorter lead times because companies have experienced that this works for them. Dollars still make sense so employee only events, attention to optics and streamlined events will remain at the forefront of planners. Rapidly changing technologies will enhance how we meet. “Green” initiatives will continue to be a large factor in planning. Attendees will meet face-to-face but can expect more content in a more concise package.
The enchantment of the face-to-face meeting is powerful. The nod of a head, the depth of a gaze and the warm of a smile are charming. A handshake is still valuable. The future is promising and with that comes hope. We can finally see the curse lifting and have emerged triumphantly! Be ready to be amazed by a bright 2012!
CVBs and Destination Marketing companies can market to international groups by inclusion in the Cvent Destination Marketing Guide.