As hoteliers assess their group business opportunities for 2022, a new report from Amadeus combines insights from hoteliers with business intelligence data from Amadeus to reveal key trends that will guide the group travel and events market in the year to come.
According to Amadeus Request360®, 2022 shows a significant uptick in group travel booking rates. As of March 17, 2022, the group’s performance in the United States books for 2022 already exceeds the group’s final performance for the previous two years, a 122% increase over 2020 and a 50% increase over 2021 With nearly 8 months to go in the year, there is a significant opportunity to close the gap with pre-pandemic levels.
The five trends that will define group travel in 2022 are:
- Changing group travel requirements: Data from Amadeus MeetingBroker™ reveals that significant changes in group travel will persist in 2022.
- In 2019, 58% of event tenders were for groups of 50 people or less, which rose to 63% in 2022. Additionally, the average time to prepare a tender went from 223 days in 2019 to 193 days in 2021.
- Hotels in non-traditional destinations are seeing an increase in group travel bookings. In 2022, we see Anchorage, AK and Tuscaloosa, AL in the top 20 US markets, while urban areas like San Francisco are still seeing lower occupancy rates compared to pre-pandemic activity.
- Lean teams must do more with less: Sales and operations teams will need to restructure and adapt to handle a higher volume of small transactions with fewer staff.
- The return of the group’s market requires a restructuring of the sales teams to conquer new markets. Reward structures should also correlate with which sellers bring in new business and which ones nurture relationships with existing customers.
- There has been a move towards centralized selling and local execution, with sales teams now having a direct link to the on-property experience.
- Hybrid and in-person meetings are here to stay: Hybrid meetings and events have become an integral part of business travel, facilitated by significant technological improvements.
- Hotels need to reevaluate their processes and identify where they can outsource third-party technology experts to free up staff and focus on guests.
- The in-person experience at a hybrid event is more important than ever to ensure guests feel valued. Similarly, hotel event managers can stand out by helping planners new to hybrid events link in-person and at-home experiences.
- Relationships with meeting organizers are even more crucial: nurturing relationships with meeting organizers will be essential in this climate defined by difficult negotiations.
- DP response speed will remain important as volume increases. Amadeus data shows meeting planner bids increased by 51% in 2021 compared to 2020.
- Fully integrated systems will be essential to winning business with access to real-time market data playing a central role in successful tender negotiations.
- Innovative partnerships unlock more potential: New hotel-corporate alliances help expand reach and secure bookings.
- Hoteliers with solid insights into guest profiles put themselves in a better position to negotiate valuable partnerships to develop new revenue streams.
- Modern technology and CRM solutions allow hotels to reference and share reservations between portfolios or independent hotels with similar profiles.
Daniel O’Keefe, SVP Hotel Property Solutions, Hospitality, Amadeus comments: “While the situation for 2022 is still evolving, there is reason to be optimistic and realistic in the United States, where signs point to continued momentum which was built around group travel. in the fourth quarter of 2021. A key takeaway from this report is the importance of historical and forward-looking data as a prerequisite for overcoming a number of challenges faced by meetings and events managers during a pandemic. In the context of small sales and operations teams, accurate data and information is essential, and teams need the expertise to act effectively on it. At Amadeus, we’re ready to equip hoteliers with the tools they need to access and understand this crucial resource.
Dana Cariss, Vice President of Revenue Strategy, CoralTree Hospitality, said, “Continued innovation in our industry in the face of uncertainty is driving our recovery. Hotels are forging new partnerships to take advantage of changes in the operating methods of certain companies in order to remain competitive. Meeting planners are responding to dynamic shifts in the fundamentals of group travel and the persistence of hybrid or remote working. This presents a new opportunity for hoteliers to turn to modern technology to help them adapt to the changing market.
In partnership with Salesforce, this document draws on insights gathered from Amadeus MeetingBroker™ and Demand360® Business Intelligence data as well as interviews with hoteliers, industry experts and Amadeus executives to help hospitality professionals to prepare for the return of the group’s activities. To learn more about the top group travel and event trends in the United States in 2022, download the report here.