GROUP TRAVEL IS coming back, mostly corporate related, according to Knowland. This could be good news as the summer vacation season is, so far, ending on a down note leading into Labor Day.
Knowland tracks group market performance by segment on a weekly basis. For the week of Aug. 24, this was the breakdown of group travel in the U.S.:
- Corporate: 65.2 percent
- SMERF (Social, Military, Education, Religious and Fraternal events): 13.3 percent
- Association: 9 percent
- Wedding: 7.9 percent
- Government: 4.6 percent
“The important take away is that there are meetings happening now and over 65 percent are corporate events today – as compared to 50 percent in 2019,” Knowland said in a statement. “The meetings we are seeing today are relationship-based, repeatable meetings that hotels should be competing for today. Group is returning, and while it may look different, there is business to be had.
Knowland, which also offers a recovery dashboard for hotels, will provide the meetings data weekly.
U.S. hotel occupancy ended at 48.2 percent for the week ending Aug. 29, a 27.7 percent fall from last year and down from 48.8 percent the week before, according to STR. STR experts and others in the industry have expressed concern about whether there will be enough corporate group business to pick up the slack when tourist travel drops after Labor Day.
“That is all before Labor Day. We’re very, very curious to see what happens once Labor Day comes and goes and people stay a little bit closer to home,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior vice president of lodging insights, in a video deep dive of the data for the week.