The Return of Meetings—Finally!

In March, CBRE adjusted their forecast. 2019 RevPAR performance will now be reached in Q3 2022 instead of Q3 2023. While this is driven by ADR, the improvement of the group segment is a key driver in returning to the high-water-mark performance of 2018 and 2019.

Zoom fatigue, reduced employee productivity, and the human need to reconnect with colleagues, clients, and bosses make the return to face-to-face meetings imperative.

So far, trends show a preference for smaller meetings, more time for networking and socializing on the agenda, and outdoor venues. Domestic destinations, at least for now, continue to be the norm; however, this will adjust once the war in Ukraine ends and international destinations are again perceived as being safe.

In the past, I’ve talked about what the sales team needs to do to be ready: 7 Steps for Sales and Marketing to Get Ready—Recovery Is On The Way! and 5 Ways to Kick-Start Your Sales Organization. Today, I would like to shift gears to focus on the operational areas of the hotel, which play a critical role in ensuring meeting planners return multiple times.

  1. Meeting planners often mention accurate billing as their biggest challenge with hotels. To have the event folio be confusing or incorrect after a meeting has run smoothly leaves a sour taste. Take time to review the hotel procedures for ensuring accurate billing, including daily meetings with the planner to review all postings.
  2. An anecdotal review of open positions shows that conference service managers are in demand. Many were burned out pre-pandemic and don’t want to go back to the long hours. What can your hotel do to make this position more desirable with a more realistic work schedule?
  3. Throughout the hotel, operational areas have gotten out of the practice of working with group movements on a daily/weekly basis. Whether it’s the front desk handling large numbers of ‘in and outs’ or the restaurant flexing from no lunch customers to a full dinner capacity based on the timing of banquet meals, group movements need to be identified and communicated to all areas of the hotel. Are the new team members up to speed on their role in this different dynamic? Are the seasoned members rusty after two years?

It takes a village to pull off a great meeting at a hotel; everyone needs to bring their A-game. Leadership is responsible for ensuring employees are trained on expectations and roles and ready to handle meeting planners’ and event attendees’ unique requirements.


"Events are a platform to translate our business strategy into bold, immersive experiences that accelerate engagement with audiences." – Nancy Neipp, Cisco senior director of global events

Take the Next Step Now

Need help making sure your hotel is ready for the return of the group segment? Contact Jo-Anne at
[email protected].

About Jo-Anne Hill

Jo-Anne is an industry expert who founded JH Hospitality Consulting to help hotels around the world dramatically improve revenue and profitability in creative ways. Her strategic thinking, skill, and practical approach to problem-solving come from hands-on experience at companies such as The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, the Mandarin-Oriental Hotel Group, the Dorchester Collection, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.

Jo-Anne’s recently published book ‘Cultivating Leadership: How great leaders make a difference, one hotel at a time” dives deeper into the equation: happy staff = happy guests = more revenue.

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