Survey Shines a Positive Light on Industry Event Attendance and Business Travel in the Next Six Months

May 4, 2022

The future is beaming brighter for in-person professional meetings and events, with a recent Q1 2022 survey revealing that 84% of American business travelers expect to take at least one trip to attend conferences, conventions or trade shows in the next six months.

The survey, which had more than 2,500 respondents, also found that less than one in 10 business travelers are uncertain if they would travel in the next six months and that business travelers expect to resume traveling at a slightly slower pace compared to pre-pandemic levels, averaging about 1.6 trips per month (compared to 1.7 monthly trips pre-pandemic).

The new Quarterly Business Travel Tracker, spearheaded by Tourism Economics and conducted by J.D. Power Travel and Hospitality Intelligence in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association, aims to monitor U.S. business travel conditions as the industry rebuilds from historic pandemic lows.

The release of the survey findings corresponded to Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on April 7, when organizations around the world spotlighted the tremendous positive impact created by business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions on people, businesses and the economy.

Powered by U.S. Travel Association and the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, GMID had special significance this year, as the meeting and events industry moves beyond the pandemic and returns to in-person events

“The return of in-person meetings and events—and business travel in general—is a welcome sight after more than two years of pandemic-related uncertainty,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. “There is simply no substitute for a face-to-face meeting, which is proven to lead to more fruitful business opportunities and can help power an economic and jobs recovery in communities across America.”

While U.S. Travel forecasts that business travel spending was still down 60% from pre-pandemic levels in 2021, the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker’s latest data shows a clear shift in business travelers’ desire to return to in-person meetings. 

The following aspects of professional meetings and events were considered most crucial to job performance by those surveyed, according to J.D. Power.

  • Developing relationships with customers, suppliers and others
  • Closing sales
  • Building awareness of their organization’s products or services
  • Professional development, including training
  • Engagement and motivation as an employee
  • Understanding current trends

“In-person [events] have relational and financial impacts to corporations that are significant,” said Andrea Stokes, practice lead for hospitality at J.D. Power. “Nearly half of survey respondents indicated that conferences, conventions and trade shows are critical to developing relationships with customers, suppliers or others. Nearly one in four respondents indicated these events are critical to closing sales.”

While the data shows a strong desire from business travelers to hit the road again, there is a big difference between willingness to travel and actually taking a trip, according to Dow.

“Corporate leaders should seize the competitive advantage, budget for business travel and encourage their teams to get back on the road and re-establish those personal connections that only come with face-to-face interactions,” he said.

Another component of the Quarterly Business Travel Tracker shows that while business travel activity slowed somewhat in Q1 2022, business conditions for travel such as GDP and business investment are quite favorable, reaching an index of 105 for Q2 2022 (compared to 100 in 2019).

Meanwhile, U.S. Travel has been strongly urging federal lawmakers to advance policies to accelerate the recovery of the meetings and events sector. For example, it has called on Congress to enact policies to help revive business travel spending in restaurants and entertainment venues, while also urging the Biden administration to remove remaining travel restrictions to facilitate a faster return to international business travel.

To see the full executive summary of the business traveler survey and Quarterly Business Travel Tracker, go here. To learn more about GMID and how the industry observed the important day, go here.

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HERE, hosting responsible meetings and caring for our communities are top priorities. Through its 'Focused on What Matters: Embracing Humanity and Protecting the Planet' philosophy, MGM Resorts commits to creating a more sustainable future, while striving to make an impact in the lives of employees, guests, and the communities in which it operates. Water Stewardship Efforts MGM Resorts understands the importance of using water efficiently, especially in the desert destination of Las Vegas. Conserving water has always been part of the mission, but MGM Resorts has expanded its ambition into water stewardship. In 2022, MGM Resorts President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle signed the CEO Water Mandate—a UN Global Compact initiative mobilizing business leaders to advance water stewardship. MGM Resorts International was the first gaming company to take this important step. MGM Resorts replaced 200,000 square feet of real grass with drought-tolerant landscaping in Las Vegas. MGM Resorts pledges to reduce water withdrawal intensity by 33% by 2025 and by 35% by 2030. From 2007-2021, use of more than 5.6 billion gallons of water was avoided because of conservation efforts. Caring for One Another MGM Resorts’ Food Donations Program collects and preserves unserved food from conventions held at MGM Resorts properties, then safely donates to food insecure people in the community. Since the program’s launch in 2016, more than 3.7 million meals toward a 2025 goal of 5 million meals have been donated into the community. Donations include: Unserved perishable prepared foods from events Perishable unprepared food from MGM Resorts’ kitchens Nonperishable food items from minibars and warehouses The collaboration with Southern Nevada’s primary food bank, Three Square, has developed the infrastructure needed to safely collect, transport, and store food from MGM Resorts properties in Las Vegas, reducing food waste while serving the community. Fostering Diversity and Inclusion To MGM Resorts, a diverse and talented workforce is essential to success. By cultivating innovative strategies that consider multiple perspectives and viewpoints, the company creates an inclusive workplace culture that benefits its employees and community. MGM Resorts takes pride in being a welcoming home for veterans, individuals with disabilities, people from diverse backgrounds, LGBTQ+ community members, and more. This commitment to inclusion is reflected in the company's recruitment and hiring practices and its social responsibility initiatives. From the workplace to the community, MGM Resorts' commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion remains unwavering, and its efforts continue to create a more equitable and sustainable world for all. MGM Resorts understands its responsibility to contribute to the social and economic progress of the communities in which it operates. HERE, we embrace humanity.