Meeting industry in US reviving faster than expected: Research

 Tuesday, July 26, 2022 

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The MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) tourism industry in United States are reviving faster than expected and could reach full market recovery in 2023, according to an updated projection from meetings data provider Knowland.

The company’s Q2 Meetings Recovery Forecast and associated Top 25 U.S. Meetings Recovery Forecast projects 72.1 percent recovery in the total number of U.S. meetings by the end of 2022, up from a 58.3 percent forecast in April.

Knowland projects meeting levels to recover to 106.3 percent of 2019 levels in 2023 and 115.7 percent in 2024, based on the company’s model, which assumes historic seasonal patterns without major market disruption.

Knowland chief product officer Kristi White said that each month of the second quarter realized significant growth. With the exception of a few markets, growth exceeded predictions resulting in a shift in the MRF.

Even with ongoing concerns about the economy and Covid-19 variants, the industry is rebounding in an unprecedented way. In Q1, U.S. meetings and events volume was flat with the forecast, while Q2 over performed by 25.8 percent more actualized meetings and events.

The corporate meetings are driving the recovery, with 73.2 percent of the volume during the past three months. This is fueled by small to midsize events, as the company tracked an average 117 attendees per event in June and 123 in May 2022.

The top segments in 2022, based on percentage of contribution, are travel, technology, financial/banking, training/education, consulting, healthcare, and pharmaceutical, charity organizations/social services, and entertainment/media.

However, these segments only recovered to 61.8 percent of 2019 levels. The most recovered segments, according to Knowland’s data, are urban infrastructure, consulting, fashion/apparel, metals/industrial, marketing/advertising, entertainment/media, travel, sports and real estate.

White said data collected from hotels does not distinguish between in-person and hybrid meetings, but customer feedback suggests “virtual will always play a role, at least for the near term, but in-person dominates”.

The company since February 2022 has tracked industry recovery in 25 key U.S. markets, where forecasts are modeled on meeting patterns from almost 20 million global events over the last 15 years. For 11 markets, the Q2 recovery forecast has improved since the last projection in April: Anaheim, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Nashville, New Orleans, Oahu Island, Orlando, San Diego and Seattle.

For Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington D.C., the recovery forecast was lowered, while remaining cities in the company’s top 25 list are unchanged since February.

Nevertheless, Phoenix still is among the markets expected to be fully recovered by the end of the year, along with Dallas, Tampa and Nashville. Meanwhile, Anaheim, Denver, Miami, San Diego, Washington D.C., Atlanta and New Orleans are on track to reach 100 percent recovery in 2023.

The forecast indicates “closer to normal,” activity by 2024, when 23 of the top 25 markets will achieve 100 percent or greater recovery, while the remaining two—Philadelphia and Detroit—will achieve 90 or better percent recovery. Las Vegas absence from the top 25 is the result of non-participation in STR data, which are part of the formula for Knowland’s analysis.

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