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4 Takeaways from GBTA’s 2022 Business-Travel Forecast

Guest-room availability, labor markets, and costs are the major factors that will affect individual and group business travel over the next year.

Opening day of the Global Business Travel Association’s annual meeting in Orlando last week saw the release of the GBTA/CTW 2022 Business-Travel Forecast. Here are four takeaways from the report that meeting organizers will want to factor into their planning process for 2022 events.

• At the macroeconomic level, a rate of inflation not seen since the mid-1980s will create budget concerns for individual and group business travel, spilling over from guest-room rates to labor and F&B costs at hotels. Further, high oil prices and reduced airline inventory—particularly for smaller cities but also in cities as large as New York—will push up airline rates more than three percent higher than in 2021.

• Guest-room rates across midscale, upscale, upper-upscale, and luxury properties are set to rise 13 percent in 2022 and another 10 percent in 2023. (Image courtesy of GBTA)

• On the other hand, there’s potential good news for meetings: Business travelers presently favor midscale properties, according to the report. The midscale tier’s share of business bookings rose 20 percent in 2021. If that continues, more rooms could be available mid-week at upscale, upper-upscale, and luxury properties for meetings.

• Also, “hotels in urban centers are still languishing in their recovery,” says the report, and the transition to hybrid work arrangements across many organizations means that cities’ corporate corridors might not see the same number of business travelers as they did prior to the pandemic.

On the flip side, Derek Decross, senior vice president of global sales for IHG Hotels, told MeetingsNet at the recent IMEX America show that internal corporate training, sales, and strategy meetings—which use both urban properties and resort properties—will likely be more plentiful in 2022. The reason: Companies need to make up for the lack of deep interaction among their people since the Covid pandemic began in March 2020.

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