Highlights from the February 8, 2022 Webinar: Outlook for the Meetings Industry Recovery
Knowland announced the addition of a Top 25 Market element to its Meetings Recovery Forecast (MRF25.) Now, not only does this predictive model show insights into event recovery over the next 3 years, it also shows the trajectory of each of the Top 25 Markets.
Knowland’s Chief Product Officer, Kristi White hosted a webinar on February 8, to discuss the current state of the industry with regards to group meeting recovery based on the data from the MRF25.
Here are a few highlights.
2019 is often acknowledged as the high-water mark for the industry and has been a good indicator to measure against, particularly from an occupancy and revenue perspective.
Kristi noted that as we look back to the first two months of 2020, we could see that the industry was pacing ahead of 2019 and shaping up to be a fairly good year, until the bottom fell out. By the end of the year, recovery was severely hampered. The beginning of 2021 was also severely hampered, however, recovery picked up in mid-year and by the end of the year, native seasonality returned to the fold.
Looking at the events at their estimated size level across the three years of 2019-2021, we also see things beginning to stabilize in the same way.
Even in 2019, 61.8% of all meetings fell under the 100-attendee category, and only 3.6% fell into the 1,000 plus category. As we look at 2020, these numbers shift dramatically. One thing to note here is these numbers are not adjusted to reflect social distance metrics. So, in reality, the 71.1% in the < 100 attendees category is even higher. When adjusted for a 6-foot metric, this number climbs to 87.4%.
When we look at 2021 numbers, we see the numbers shift back to patterns similar to 2019. This shows a stabilization that brings signs recovery is occurring and falling into more predictable patterns.
Looking into Market Segmentation across the United States, we see the same type of shifts. The 2019 segmentation was static from the prior years. However, as one would expect, 2020 shifted rather significantly.
The biggest changes were within the Association, Government, and Wedding segments. These make sense. Association business is predicated on discretionary spending from companies and individuals. Additionally, these tend to be larger events with 55% of events in 2019 being 100 or more people. The government sector was driven by COVID needs across multiple cities. Finally, the wedding segment was driven in the latter half of the year by delayed gratification and people choosing to move forward despite the pandemic.
2021 shifted into the more predictable patterns of 2019. Association rebounded (not fully recovered) but on the way to it. Government retracted as one would expect. Wedding also contracted but not all the way to 2019 levels.
From an individual market perspective, understanding the potential for recovery by Market is important to help focus your sales efforts. There is a chance that many of your top 10 segments before are no longer your Top 10 segments nor those of your market. As recovery continues, hotels will need to be more proactive in their efforts to remain competitive.
Market recovery is divided this into 4 segments
- Recovered – those markets who will reach 100% or greater
- Recovering those above 80%
- Delayed – those markets falling between 50-80%
- Laggards – those falling below 50%
Two markets hit into the Recovered category in 2022 — Phoenix and Tampa. Three will fall into the Recovering category — Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami. Seventeen are delayed — Boston, Nashville, Houston, New Orleans, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Anaheim, Chicago, St. Louis, New York, Washington, DC, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Denver, And 3 are Laggards — Norfolk, Oahu Island and Detroit.
Being able to understand individual markets at a more granular level, as well as balance that against overall recovery, is crucial as the industry navigates short-term recovery and long-term profitability.
To listen to the full webinar, click here.