Reports Point to Meetings Industry Recovery

Knowland and Simpleview have released encouraging new insights on event leads and bookings

Author: Jennifer N. Dienst       

attendees listen to speaker

Corporate event marketers convened at CEMA Summit 2022 — the largest turnout in CEMA’s history — July 31-Aug. 2, at the JW Marriott in Nashville, Tennessee. Corporate events are leading the events industry recovery, according to research by Knowland. (Two Dudes Photo)

In recent weeks, new data has emerged showing that the meetings industry may be heading towards a full recovery. Simpleview — which provides CRM, CMS, and digital marketing solutions for destinations around the world — looked at group sales performance data for 215 DMOs throughout the U.S. and Canada, segmented by region and gross exhibit space. Encouraging findings include a bump in the number of leads — for example, between January and June of 2022, DMOs saw almost as many leads as they did in the first six months of 2019. And compared to 2021, leads are up nearly 3 percent, quarter-over-quarter. When it comes to actual bookings, according to Simpleview, it’s a similar story. Bookings are outpacing 2021 but still need time to catch up to 2019’s highs. From January to June 2022, the number of bookings jumped by 77 percent compared to 2021, but only averaged 70 percent of the 2019 index.

The most recent quarterly update to Knowland’s U.S. Meetings Recovery Forecast, released in July, also saw signs of improvement in actualized U.S. meetings as well. Knowland, which claims to have the industry’s largest historical database of actualized events, bases its forecasts on its own historical data culled from the top 25 group markets in the U.S.

“Even with ongoing concerns about the economy and COVID variants, the industry is rebounding in an unprecedented way,” said Kristi White, chief product officer at Knowland, which provides meetings market intelligence data to the hospitality industry. “In Q1, U.S. meetings and events volume was flat with the forecast while Q2 overperformed by 25.8 percent more actualized meetings and events. Corporate events are leading the charge in this recovery with several markets already recovered at more than 90 percent of 2019 levels in this segment.”

The pipeline for 2023 and beyond looks full as well — according to the forecast update, “meeting levels will recover to 106.3 percent of 2019 levels in 2023 and 115.7 percent in 2024.”

At a Glance

In August 2022, Simpleview released its first-ever Sales Quarterly report, which analyzed the sales performance of 215 DMOs in the U.S. and Canada. Here are the biggest takeaways from that report:

  • 2022 bookings still lag 2019 bookings by 30 percent.
  • Leads are within 6 percent of 2019 in the first half of 2022.
  • June 2022 had 3 percent more leads than June 2019.
  • There are 2,300-plus more hotel leads for July to December 2022 arrivals than for the same period in 2019.
  • The No. 1 market is sports, and it has more leads in 2022 than 2019 had for both hotel meetings and convention center events combined.