So we looked into the industry .
There is hope!
There are things that still need to be worked out for our industry to be at 100% but we are making great strides and are over half way there.
We got some of the biggest questions answered and here it is:
What are hotels saying and doing with bookings and cancelations?
They have been playing very nice, hotels and venues have suffered just like all of us in the industry and they have been more than fair in moving bookings and rolling over cancelations. With restrictions being lifted there is now a push to use and schedule the events that had been on the books for 2020 to have them held this year or possibly pushed to 2022.
Compression on Bookings
After a year and a half of cancelations and rolling over bookings, compression of bookings is now present and visible in the industry. It is predicted that this pattern will take as much time to even out as it took to compress - roughly about 18 months.
Currently hotels are not modifying the contracts for a second time. Michael Dominguez made a good point that force majeure does not cover the pandemic. As such, where there may be nuances with contracts, planners should have an open line of communication with the venue and discuss possible issues vs trying to create a legal dispute by trying to claim force majeure. This will neither be won nor benefit either party. Remember force majeure does not apply to events which may happen in the future.
The industry seems to be back to offering pre-COVID (2019) rates. As such, the hope for and possibility of COVID discounts is no longer present. Much of this is due to the increase of recreational and leisure local travel that we are seeing.
- We spoke about this a bit during the Pandemic Strategies sessions. Given that COVID is airborne and easily transmittable there is no liability on the planner or the hotel as long as both parties are complying with their Duty of Care.
- It is very difficult to determine where COVID was contracted and so making this hard to to prove liability once everyone does their duty of care.
Places that are openly welcoming travel and making it easy to meet currently are:
- Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Portugal.
- Resort areas in the United States of America are also seeing an uptick in traffic and bookings.
We are seeing that people are meeting again in small and medium numbers. There are, however, still reports of some meetings with 800 plus attendees now occurring in the industry.
Additional tips provided by our speakers
- Open communication with vendors and venues.
- Negotiate fairly
With current demand and compression planners are not standing with the same footing as we did prior to COVID. As such, it is recommended that as planners we should negotiate fairly and know what is nice to have vs need to have for your group.
- Start planning slow
The industry is recovering and with the compression we are seeing cancellations becoming fewer each day. Start with smaller groups again and due to the current compression make sure you are looking at dates in 2022 and 2023 as well. You want to make sure your group makes it onto the roster.