Compression, Sustainability & Who’s Traveling in 2022
While all signs point to a slow crawl back to corporate travel – a recent Deloitte survey of 150 travel managers had them predicting we might be back to between 65% and 80% of 2019 levels by year’s end – there are still a lot of things to be excited about as we round the corner into 2022.
One buzzword we’re hearing a lot: compression.
While some events were cancelled into 2022, many are still set to happen. And industry pros project the spaces in between may fill up fast with meetings postponed in 2020 and/or 2021, potentially creating a squeeze on venue availability.
The solution for planners looking to bring their memberships back together after a long hiatus? Move quickly from your short list to negotiations or risk having to push it all forward again. Combined virtual and in-person meetings may help cut down not only on space necessary to accommodate your group, but the length of time you’ll need as well – a good strategy if you’re already behind in planning.
Beware, too, the budget, as supply-chain issues are affecting every facet of hospitality. Prices for everything from Wagyu to chicken wings (even disposable cutlery and plates for food-truck events) are soaring. Venues – already dealing with worker shortages – have little recourse but passing those increases on.
Sustainability, already an upward trend in hotels, will continue to make gains, say the experts. This includes everything from recycling programs and planet-safe cleaning products to reduced water consumption and eco-friendly lighting.
On the food front, the still-growing interest in local ingredients may help keep these costs down, as rising transportation costs mean the food that’s closer won’t just be fresher, it’ll cost less to bring in. Ask your F&B contacts what’s local when menu planning and capitalize on your location for flavor – and frugality.
Keep an eye on your young professionals – word on the street is that they’re exceptionally eager to travel – and willing to spend on it. Millennials and Gen Z may be the targets for your in-person campaigns, particularly in places where they’d want to tack on time for a personal vacation or an easy jump-off spot to elsewhere.
Everyone’s still a little leery about being packed into meeting rooms though. Lower-count events in larger spaces are still wise. Outdoor functions? Even better. As far as destinations, those with more outdoor options are worthy of close looks.
Associations are finding green on the green. Golf tournaments have always been around, but these days, they’re a solid earner – attracting a mix of those interested in getting out and seeing old friends and those just eager to get out!
A few courses to keep an eye on for a gathering of the golfers:
Fort Worth’s Rockwood course was restored and reopened in 2017, blending the new (as in new greens, fairways, bunkers, etc.) with a nod to the course’s history. The course was originally designed in the 1930s and includes sweeping views of downtown.
Brackenridge Park, or “Brack” as it’s known to San Antonio locals, is one of eight courses in the city. Opened in the early 1900s and designed by the same architect known for the U.S. Open’s Baltusrol and Winged Foot, this course can also often be found on lists of the best public courses in the United States.
If you’d like the added challenge of Hill Country’s rolling landscape, schedule a tee time at the Falconhead Golf Club in west Austin. The property also includes a driving range, pitching area and putting green if you don’t have time for a full 18.