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Even as event tech grows, receiving unprecedented funding over the past two years, some parts of the meetings industry are facing a slowdown.
Cvent’s latest Group Business Outlook report projects a shaky couple years for group booking. The company predicts that booking activity on its platform will be up in the beginning of 2020, as compared to last year, but that it will soon plunge downwards. Cvent gathers its data from its venue sourcing database, which has 260,000 venues globally, and it has been projecting a decline all year.
“When we consider the Outlook data together with other recent macroeconomic forecasts, we continue to expect a challenging group environment for the hospitality sector in upcoming months,” said Jeffrey Emenecker, senior director of analytics at Cvent.
Many industry players have cited the potential for an economic downturn, which may be part of the reason for the slowdown. Others, such as Hilton, have pointed to global political issues, particularly the trade tensions between the U.S. and China, as a potential factor as well. In fact, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG have already experienced a decline in group bookings, something which showed up in last quarter’s earnings.
It isn’t all bad, however. Cvent’s data projects that group booking will start to improve toward the middle of 2021, and should remain up through the end of the year.
Emenecker also highlighted some of the more positive aspects of the report, saying the findings were a “mixed bag.”
“Booking pace for 2020 looks flat at this point, which is a bit better than it looked 90 days ago,” he said. “And 2021 is looking up, albeit slightly less so than it was last quarter.”
The average group size was also down, adding up to one and a half fewer rooms than the same quarter a year before. While not a large number, it compounds the issue of a booking slowdown, as the groups who do book will be smaller in size.
Average peak room nights were down too, with events on average being shorter in duration versus the previous year.
Request for proposals, however, were up, although they still remained below average. Most data points suggest an accelerating decline in request for proposals, the company said, adding that this may be further evidence of a softening market.
Check out the full report below.