ARLINGTON, Va. — Knowland, a company that provides group data and analytics for hotels, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), conference centers, and other meeting venues, recently announced its 2020 group predictions and a review of 2019 trends in a recent webcast, 2020 Predictions – Top Trends for Group Business.
Led by Kristi White, vice president of product management, the webcast covered regional and market performance, as Knowland offered a glimpse into its vault of proprietary group data to the hospitality industry. The webcast highlighted the top 10 markets (by volume) for the Americas and international regions. The markets with the biggest year-over-year increases were also highlighted.
In the Americas, the Miami-Hialeah, Fla. market holds the highest year-over-year event growth, up 10.5 percent. Internationally, Dubai realized a 52.3 percent year-over-year increase in events. Year-to-date corporate and association segments exhibited a 15 percent and 11 percent decrease, respectively. The social segment is carrying the day with a 20 percent increase in the Americas and a 32 percent increase internationally—a fact that White highlighted as a positive indicator the industry growth still has legs.
“Social and SMERF (Social, Military, Education, Religious, and Fraternal) spending is typically discretionary, and losses in those segments would be more concerning because it is a sign that non-corporate is pulling back on spending. It could be the canary in the coal mine,” added White.
Real-time polling of attendees suggests most remain cautiously optimistic about growth prospects for group business in 2020, with 76 percent expecting either modest growth or a slight hiccup in their markets. “Whether next year is merely a slowdown or a full downturn remains to be seen. But what we do know is hotels’ only defense will be in group [business]. Smart hotels are not panicking. They are “grouping-up.” This means they are evaluating their source of group business to optimize their profitability and share. They are training and investing in resources for their hunter salespeople to execute on a proactive group sales strategy and shoring up their repeat business,” said White.