Group business is back in a big way. In-person events are returning to their pre-COVID normal pace. In 2024, 81 percent of meetings will have an in-person component in them. A recent study by Deloitte anticipates that by 2024, business travel spending will return to its level before the pandemic. This view is echoed in Accor’s data, which shows in their latest survey regarding client business travel that 57 percent of those surveyed anticipate a budget increase for travel in 2024 compared to 2023.
With this influx of in-person gatherings, in 2024, event technology is projected to become even more critical, providing key solutions for important issues impacting event results and ROI. By embracing advanced automation and modern sales and catering systems, hotels can redefine their group sales strategies to streamline and simplify tasks to focus more time on clients and closing deals.
Interested in this impending digital transformation in hotel sales? I thought you might be. However, utilizing technological advancements requires more than just getting new tools. It forces us to change how we handle and apply the information provided by these tools. Hoteliers need to imagine new ways to use these powerful technologies.
Let’s take a look at what we can expect this year:
- The global meetings and events industry is projected to reach $1.439 trillion, growing at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2019. (Source: Allied Market Research)
- Green meetings and sustainability practices in event planning are predicted to increase by 20%. (Source: American Express)
- 80% of event planners will use event management software to streamline their tasks. (Source: Eventify)
- AI-powered event technology is expected to be used by 60% of event organizers by 2024. (Source: Inevent)
- 70% of venues are expected to offer virtual site inspections. (Source: Bizzabo)
- 40% of corporate event budgets are expected to be allocated to technology. (Source: Upmetrics)
- 85% of event planners are expected to use social media for event promotion. (Source: Unevent)
- Demand for unique venues for meetings and events is expected to increase by 25%. (Source: NorthStar Meetings Group)
How will these trends impact the hotel industry?
The adoption of technology in meetings and events is a growing trend. In 2024, event technology is projected to become even more critical, providing key solutions for important issues impacting event results and ROI.
Embracing the seemingly limitless potential of technology can empower hotels to redefine their group sales strategies. A noteworthy trend, confirmed by an EventMB survey, reveals that a massive 89 percent of event professionals are geared towards increasing their investment in event technology by 2024. This upward trend signals the ascendancy of tech-related amenities, such as event management software, in meetings and events.
Interested in this transformation? I thought you might be. However, utilizing technological advancements requires more than just getting new tools. It forces us to change how we handle and apply the information provided by these tools. Hoteliers need to imagine new ways to use these powerful technologies to engage our customers better and improve the overall event experience.
Driving smart decisions with data
One can fairly speculate that in the future, personalized experiences will be considered the gold standard in event planning. The abundance of data in the age of the digital revolution is a double-edged sword. It presents an unparalleled opportunity.
Hotels are using data analytics to decode customer preferences and behavioral patterns can also pinpoint emerging trends, make informed strategy decisions, and personalize services to cater to varying group requirements. This tailored approach can lead to substantial boosts in customer satisfaction and loyalty levels, contributing to increased sales.
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Establishing a tech-driven RFP response strategy
Stepping into 2024, an impressive 70% of event bookings are expected to happen through RFPs, as estimated by the Statistic Brain Research Institute. It’s important to remember that every RFP represents a unique customer with specific needs and expectations. Therefore, responses should not simply be a package of common offerings but a custom solution designed for each potential client’s needs.
Consider promoting flexible cancellation policies and highlighting the convenience of your location, variety of rooms, meeting spaces, and amenities like health and business centers as key offerings. Swift responses to inquiries and RFPs, enriched by personalized mobile-friendly proposals with conveniences like digital signatures and 3D floor plans, will demonstrate your commitment to their success.
And don’t forget about smaller groups. Small gatherings play a vital role in reaching hotel revenue goals. Therefore, the strategic move to market small to mid-scale hotel meeting spaces directly online using tools like digital menus and online RFP forms eliminates the need for a sales team to spend valuable time on smaller deals. Using the latest technologies also shows your commitment to guest satisfaction and thorough understanding of their requirements.
Enhancing speed and efficiency through technology
To keep pace with the accelerated RFP process, it’s imperative hotels leverage technology to streamline and automate operations. In this day and age, hotels of all types are investing in innovative platforms designed to improve workflow efficiency: business intelligence for data analysis, sales and catering systems for optimizing tracking, reporting, and communication, and proposal management solutions for faster proposal creation and submission.
Harnessing these advancements could prove to be a game-changer in the RFP season. After all, in the wise words of Charles Darwin,
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change.
Embracing Sustainability and Responsible Tourism
The cry for ecologically responsible options echoes not just through individual travelers but permeates the zeitgeist of corporate entities and individuals planning large-scale events.
Needless to say, adopting eco-friendly measures in management, as well as advocating responsible tourism, could provide a competitive edge in securing event bookings. While there may be an up-front cost associated with transitioning to more environmentally responsible operation procedures, the investment will surely yield robust dividends in the form of consumer appreciation and loyalty.
Championing Diverse and Inclusive Experiences
A recent study forecasting trends for 2024 predicts that approximately 61% of event planners will prioritize inclusivity while selecting venues, which suggests the need for hoteliers to address and accommodate diversity (source). By understanding and providing for diverse populations’ unique desires and needs, hotels can tap into new markets and solidify their standing in the ever-evolving events industry.
In conclusion, the landscape of meetings and events is evolving at a rapid pace, driven by technological advancements, emerging planner and attendee expectations, and the ongoing impact of a changing world. Hoteliers who adapt to these trends and implement tech-driven strategies will be best positioned to thrive in this dynamic environment and, ultimately, drive business success in 2024 and beyond.