Looking for encouraging news? Here are 12 positive developments that members of the HSMAI Americas Board of Directors have observed recently.
By Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, President and CEO, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
As you’re reading this, HSMAI is in the middle of Commercial Strategy Week — our successful return to in-person events after nearly two years of a global pandemic that has challenged our community of hotel sales, marketing, and revenue optimization professionals like never before. From Sept. 27–30, we’ve gathered in Dallas for a robust series of programs, including our Marketing Strategy Conference, ROC Americas, and four Executive Roundtables.
Of course, it’s been wonderful to see members, colleagues, and friends again — there’s nothing like the give-and-take of face-to-face — but what’s really resonating with me are the optimistic messages I’ve heard everywhere, from speakers presenting onstage to members clustering in the hallways. Yes, the hospitality industry has been through the ringer and we’re still not sure about the timeline for full recovery, but these hopeful, inspiring, and empowering insights have left me energized.
Our HSMAI Americas Board of Directors are the ones who got things started. During a meeting at the beginning of the week, we asked board members to share an encouraging trend they’ve observed recently. Here are some of the positive developments they’ve seen:
- A better 2022: Next year will be really good, starting right in Q1, with the pipeline looking healthy and pent-up demand existing all over the world.
- COVID, round 2: When the delta variant hit, business didn’t drop off a cliff to the extent that it did during the early days of the pandemic, and any panic around delta seems to have dissipated quickly.
- World party: International travel has skyrocketed, including pre-booking inbound travel to the United States now that there’s a timeline for reopening, as well as travel within Europe.
- Direct action: Data is showing that direct bookings have come back strong, even compared to 2019.
- Local news: The regional leisure market is strong, and there are numerous opportunities as we build back.
- Better together: There is greater cooperation between brands and hotel management companies, with larger brands in particular are embracing innovation to get back on track.
- Making money: Profit data is getting back to 2019 levels.
- Hello again: The number of hospitality industry events held since the summer shows that people are excited to get together. And the energy around these face-to-face programs can’t be replicated online.
- Staffing up: While the talent crisis is real, over the last few months, hiring has become a little easier.
- Leveling up: Second-tier cities are seeing an uptick in group business.
- Making book: Booking windows are growing again, with both searches and actual bookings happening further out.
- No shame: The travel shaming that happened last year has settled down, and many more people are comfortable traveling.
As we continue our recovery journey together, let’s use these and other expert insights as an evolving blueprint for staying positive, identifying problems, developing solutions — and taking advantage of the new opportunities that every crisis creates.