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Are some meetings and convention centers heading the way of the mall?

Issue # 6 Happy Holidays (823 Words/4 minutes)

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What if I told you that some some convention centers and meeting facilities might be heading in the same direction as large shopping malls…extinct.

As we move into 2022, one of the unanswered questions coming out of the COVID-19 recovery is, “when will business and meetings travel will fully return to pre-pandemic levels?” It's a great question and one that could have a significant impact on some destinations.

We do know that one of the realities coming out of the pandemic was rural destinations recovered much more quickly and, in some cases, didn't miss a beat. Driven by consumers' quest for outdoor experiences and open spaces, beach, mountain, and desert destinations fared well to attract existing and new visitors.

Those destinations that have relied on meetings and conferences have seen a very different result. In California, for example, city destinations like San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have felt the impact of reduced demand from this important segment.

A recent Skift article was looking at business travel and how quickly it might return indicated that domestic travel to urban centers was returning in 2021. The article goes on to state, "While lagging behind the leisure segment, business travel is projected to catch up at a similar pace."

It is interesting to note that where you get your information has a different perspective. I have noticed that outside the tourism and hospitality industry, the story is different.

A recent Forbes article quoting new research from Morning Consult has a very different take.

"Morning Consult throws a wet blanket on a strong rebound for business travel. In its latest State of Travel and Hospitality report, the data analysis company reveals that four in ten American business travelers (39%) say they will never go on another work trip."