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11/09/2022

Global Industry Leaders Express Optimism for the Future of Travel & Events as Group Business Shows Steady Growth

Amadeus, along with Meeting Professionals International and Salesforce, unveil the state of meetings & events through perspectives of global industry experts. 

Topline notes: 

  • Group business is set for a strong corporate and conference season in Q4 2022.
  • Group bookings are now starting to extend more confidently into 2023 with 48 million room nights already committed globally for H1 2023, a 16% increase over the same time in 2022, according to Amadeus’ business intelligence data. 
  • Forward-looking insights from global industry leaders echo overall optimistic outlook. 

As hoteliers evaluate their group business opportunities, a new meetings and events forecast from AmadeusSalesforceandMeeting Professionals International (MPI) combines forward-looking insights on the state of the industry from the perspectives of global experts.

According to Amadeus’ Demand360® data, group travel is set for a strong conference season in Q4. Global group occupancy has consistently been within 1-2% of pre-pandemic levels as the conference sector has started to rebound in 2022. Amadeus data also shows that group bookings are now also starting to extend more confidently into 2023, with 48 million bookings already made globally for H1 2023 - a 16% increase over the same time in 2022.

“An explosion in pent-up demand for face-to-face experiences is driving a strong recovery for the meeting and event industry,” says Chris Meyer, CEO, George P. Johnson Experience Marketing Member, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) International Board of Directors. 

In the U.S., the number of Q3 2022 meetings and events increased by 190.5% over the same period last year, according toKnowland. Additionally, the average number of attendees for the third quarter was 116 compared to 81 for 2021, while the average square footage used was 2,953 per event, and square feet used per person was in line with 2019 levels at 25.

Corporate gatherings accounted for the vast majority of events across the United States with some segments already recovered to 2019 levels. 75% of the corporate segments recovered at 80% or better through September.

With such positive numbers surrounding the return of group travel, Amadeus sourced opinions from seven top global meeting, event, and hospitality authorities to better understand what’s driving gatherings now.

Among the unifying themes is a new spirit of flexibility and experimentation between planners, their clients, and properties to design innovative and memorable experiences. “People’s expectations have changed—they no longer want to travel just to sit in presentations,” said Melanie Picard, Senior Director, AppExchange Partner Marketing, Salesforce. “This shift in expectations has opened up a new world of possibilities that we can’t ignore.”

Events are no longer all about business—instead, attendees expect a menu of additional activities to complete their stay, and a clear focus on sustainability. “Sustainability is about more than environmental issues,” saysMariela McIlwraith, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Events Industry Council Centre for Sustainability and Social Impact. “It’s about the interrelationship of people, planet, and purpose and how our decisions affect each area.”

To read more from our industry experts, download the eBook “Industry Masters: The Future of Meetings & Events”