Having returned from two industry conferences, the future of the meetings and conventions industry isn’t quite where any of us want it to be, as we are still facing serious challenges post pandemic.  As premier partners with Destinations International, Digital Edge participated in the Convention Sales & Services Summit and the CEO Summit where we were presented with the unique challenges for the meetings and conference industry. Luckily, overall we’re optimistic for the future.

During the Convention Sales & Services Summit, Digital Edge opened the day long session with the key trends facing group sales moving forward.  To get the full recap of our presentation addressing the top trends facing group sales, check out  our blog on the Destinations International site.  

Other key trends that became prevalent were addressing the rising cost of inflation, the increasing focus on diversity, equity and inclusion from all group types and sustainability practices. 

Things to consider:

  • Sending an RFI on DEI questions prior to sending an RFP is becoming a new standard
  • Hybrid is expected to be 80/20 for international meetings to maintain inclusivity 
  • Change in how destinations offer site visits due to inflation. Hotels are not giving rooms or hotels only giving as credit to the master account when a group is booked 
  • Unbundling of meetings for attendees who want choices when attending. Changing registration options which changes room blocks
  • Businesses not providing transportation or Food and Beverage quotes due to inflation. Using Market price or using % instead of dollar amount due to inflation
  • Sustainability practices part of RFP and needs from planners

During CEO Summit, U.S. Travel’s Roger Dow shared his thoughts about the top challenges the tourism and the meetings industry faces.

Three Tourism Industry Challenges:

  1. Workforce development 
  2. Sustainability 
  3. Over tourism 

Meetings Industry Challenges & Trends:

  1. CFO’s want to save money & are redlining business travel requests
  2. Attendees are still fearful and their families are fearful 
  3. Competitors are going to get market share through face to face meetings and those not traveling will lose out 
  4. There are truly two different worlds out there & how the pandemic was managed.  You have the LA to Orange County contrasts and the NYC to FL contrast creating confusion on how to manage the pandemic especially for meetings

 

While the industry continues its recovery, Dow did close with some great advice for all of us

“Be future looking. Keep your head in the clouds and feet on the ground.”

 

At Digital Edge, we are working with our clients to ensure their meetings marketing strategies are positioning them for success with these top trends and meeting planner needs.  Marketing moving forward should address these key points for planners and go beyond brand campaigns to more effectively demonstrate all that sales teams and destinations are doing to win group business.

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