The global meetings sector has been on a roll lately, but macroeconomic issues combined with commission cuts in North America appear to be putting the brakes on demand for group bookings.

The latest edition of Cvent’s Group Business Outlook shows that demand for bookings in the years ahead is lagging behind expected metrics. The report pulls from the Cvent Supplier Network, which features 255,000 venues.

The data shows a marked downtick in awarded group rooms pace compared to prior years, but advanced bookings have picked slightly up over the last quarter. Bookings for the fourth quarter of 2020, in particular, are currently down 3 percent compared to the previous year.

“As we move through the first half of 2019, it will be interesting to see whether the
strong end to last year’s RFP activity will continue to drive momentum, or if the increase
in activity was merely a blip on the radar due to external factors including commission
change policies that will go into effect this year,” said Jeffrey Emenecker, Cvent’s senior director of analytics. Brexit, trade wars, and overall budgeting uncertainty could be hurting advance bookings, too.

Request for proposal activity, however, heated up over the second half of 2018. The 12-month moving average ticket up two percent over the course of the year, with the fourth quarter coming in as the most robust quarter of the year.

Over the course of the year, though, events seemed to get smaller; the average room night block dropped 3 percent in 2018 to 213.7 rooms. Average event duration declined 1.8 percent to 3.3 days, while the average booking window increased 2 percent to 186.8 days.

“Based on this data, it looks like hoteliers may be facing a challenging 24 months ahead,” said Emenecker. “Typically, we believe both group size and lead time are indicators of the confidence and certainty planners, and ultimately their clients, have in the future. Q4’s data may also have been impacted by the aforementioned commission change policies that would have an effect on the booking window and the acceleration of awarded RFPs.”

Check out the full report below.

Download (PDF, 838KB)

Photo Credit: A hotel in the Cayman Islands. Thomas Hawk / Flickr