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Spring / Summer 2019 Meet Med Issue


Covering topics such as technology usage and leading locations, Meet Med is an indispensable resource for medical meeting and event planners. In an ever-changing industry, this publication keeps medical planners up-to-date with the latest medical trends and innovations that impact medical conferences.

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Air Force Academy Hotel to Break Ground


A planned $225 Air Force Academy Hotel and Conference Center will break ground this summer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 10 acre resort will be built and owned by Provident Resources Group which builds projects with tax-exempt bonds that serve a public benefit and drive tax revenues for local governments across the country. Steve Hicks, is CEO and board chairman. Provident is also building a new indoor waterpark at the Mall of America in Bloomington Minnesota. The planned 300,000 sf convention center and hotel near the Air Force Academy Visitor’s Center will be financed with $224 million in bonds. Work is planned to start in August 2021 after infrastructure work is completed.

For more information on this and upcoming hotel construction and renovation projects in the planning, design, pre-construction and construction phase including who is involved with their contact information, please visit: HotelProjectLeads.com

New Freeman Research Shows an Accelerated Return to In-Person Events


Freeman, a global event planning firm, releases new research this week showing the majority of attendees and exhibitors in the U.S. plan to return to face-to-face events by the fall of 2021. According to the study, 78 percent of attendees expect to attend in-person events in fall 2021, increasing to 94 percent by winter. Exhibitors are slightly more optimistic with 80 percent returning this fall, 95 percent will do so by winter.

Further, 85 percent of respondents say in-person events are irreplaceable because of their ability to drive commerce and networking that creates partnerships and innovation.

“The events industry was one of the hardest hit during COVID-19,” said Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman. “This research shows a light at the end of the tunnel with confidence in returning to in-person events up from an all-time low last spring. When events return, commerce returns — by not only providing a platform for small business and larger corporations, but also benefiting the travel, hospitality, and tourism industries as well.”

Other findings of the research include:

  • Vaccination propels confidence and interest in returning to large in-person events with 86 percent more confident in doing so once vaccinated. Interestingly, trade show attendees, suppliers and exhibitors report being more willing to immediately receive the vaccine than the average person in the U.S.
  • Manufacturing will return to in-person first followed by technology, retail and finally healthcare.
  • The overall Confidence Index in returning to in-person events now is at 75 percent, up from an all-time low last spring in the 40s.
  • Sixty-eight percent of attendees and 71 percent of exhibitors expect to have no corporate travel restrictions by Q3 2021.

Using its own research data as well as numerous sources from local governments, travel industry, hospitality, meetings and public health, Freeman has created a proprietary Event Favorability Dashboard to guide its organizer, exhibitor and corporate clients on the timing, location and format for their events.

“While we are encouraged by the accelerated return for in-person events, the right timing for individual events will depend on the industry, the event type and regionality,” said Priest-Heck. “We’ve already seen many events conducted safely with the correct health and safety measures in place. As more shows do so, we anticipate that this will support the easing of regulations for business events and allow for the return of face-to-face meetings more quickly.”

Freeman will share highlights of the study and take questions on March 4 at 1 pm CST. Attendance is limited and by invitation only. To request an invitation, contact media@freeman.com.

About the Research
Conducted by Freeman’s Data Intelligence team — with more than 50 years of industry research experience — the research is based on data from more than 1 million U.S. event attendees, exhibitors, organizers and brand marketers and includes 20 percent international attendees making it the most comprehensive offering of its kind in the industry. With a +/-1.2 percent margin of error, the full report is also segmented into detailed findings for the technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and business services industries with insights on other industry sectors also available.

For more information and to purchase the research study, visit research.freeman.com.

Leisure & Hospitality Accounts for Whopping 39% of Jobs Lost to Pandemic


Almost four in 10 of all the U.S. jobs lost since February of last year are in the Leisure & Hospitality industry, according to analysis of the latest Department of Labor national jobs report—triple the number of the next-hardest-hit industry.

The meager 49,000 jobs created by the U.S. economy in January were viewed by economists as a disappointment and a major sign of lingering pandemic-related stress in labor markets. But according to analysis created for the U.S. Travel Association by the research firm Tourism Economics, the real underlying story is the 61,000 jobs lost by the Leisure & Hospitality sector last month. The U.S. would have gained 110,000 jobs overall without the decline in Leisure & Hospitality jobs.

It’s the second month in a row that the Leisure & Hospitality sector lost jobs despite overall U.S. employment gains.

Other numbers underscore the particularly dire situation of Leisure & Hospitality compared to the rest of the U.S. jobs economy:

  • The 23% of Leisure & Hospitality jobs lost since February 2020 is nearly double the industry with the next-worst job loss rate (mining and logging, 12%).
  • Leisure & Hospitality’s 39% share of all U.S. unemployment is three times that of the industry with the second-biggest share (government, 13%).
  • The 16% current unemployment rate in Leisure & Hospitality is almost three times the overall U.S. unemployment rate (6%).

“The math is pretty easy: the U.S. economy won’t get back on track until the Leisure & Hospitality sector is back on track, and that’s going to take aggressive policy actions,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Safely restarting travel needs to become a national priority, which means not only relief measures but pressing ahead on vaccinations and continuing to emphasize best health practices. This is an all-hands-on-deck problem, with the government, industry, and also the public having important roles to play.”

“There are still unknowns about when travel will restart in earnest,” Dow said. “What is fully known is that the pandemic’s effect on travel is continuing to cause devastating economic and employment harm, and the only way to correct that is through aggressive action.”

BIOMEDevice Boston is Facilitating its Expo Face-to-Face and Virtually


BIOMEDevice Boston, a regional event that brings together cutting-edge engineers, innovative thinkers, and business leaders who impact the progression of the world’s biotechnology, is holding its event over two different periods this year.  Covering topics such as digital health, 3D printing, software and security, and surgical robotics, this event will be taking place face-to-face in the fall and virtually in the spring.

Attendee Breakdowns

Between its face-to-face and virtual attendance, BIOMEDevice Boston accommodates 2,080+ attendees, 320 exhibitors, and 30 industry speakers and thought leaders.

Event Dates

Face-to-Face | From September 21-22, BIOMEDevice Boston is taking place in-person at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Virtual Attendance | From April 6-7, BIOMEDevice Boston will be facilitating its expo virtually.

To learn more details about this event, click here.


Hotel Occupancy Remains Flat During Last Week of January


U.S. weekly hotel occupancy remained relatively flat from the previous week, according to STR‘s latest data through 30 January.

24-30 January 2021 (percentage change from comparable week in 2020):

  • Occupancy: 40.4% (-29.6%)
  • Average daily rate (ADR): US$89.62 (-29.8%)
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$36.23 (-50.6%)

Aggregate data for the Top 25 Markets showed lower occupancy (38.4%) but higher ADR (US$95.50) than all other markets.

Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida (58.2%), reported the highest occupancy level among the Top 25 Markets.

Top 25 Markets with the lowest occupancy levels for the week included Oahu Island, Hawaii (22.8%), and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota-Wisconsin (27.7%).

56% of Americans Likely to Travel for Vacation In 2021, and 21% Report Traveling Since Pandemic


A new survey conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) shows consumers are optimistic about traveling again in 2021, with 56% reporting they are likely to travel for vacation this year.

That represents a significant decline from pre-pandemic levels, when approximately 70% of Americans took a vacation in any given year, according to OmniTrak (TNS) data. Since the onset of the pandemic, just 21% of survey respondents reported traveling for vacation or leisure, and only 28% reported staying in hotel. Prior to the pandemic, 58% of survey respondents said they stayed in a hotel at least one night per year for leisure, and 21% stayed at least one night per year for work.

The survey also found that while consumers remain optimistic about travel, consumer confidence about staying in hotels is tied to widespread distribution of the vaccine: 11% say they will feel comfortable staying in a hotel when vaccines are available to the general public; 20% when a majority of Americans have been vaccinated; and 17% when they are personally vaccinated.

The recovery of the travel industry is anticipated to take place in three phases: leisure travel, small and medium events, and group and business travel. While recovery will begin in 2021, full recovery is not expected until 2024.

The survey of 2,200 adults was conducted January 7-9, 2021 by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA. Key findings of the survey include the following:

  • 56% of Americans say they are likely to travel for leisure or vacation in 2021
  • 34% of adults are already comfortable staying in a hotel, while 48% say their comfort is tied in some way to vaccine distribution
  • Compared to last year, 36% of Americans expect to travel more for leisure in 2021, while 23% expect to travel less and 42% about the same
  • One in five Americans (19%) expect their next hotel stay to be between now and April, with another 24% expecting it sometime between May and August

“While consumers are optimistic about traveling in 2021 after nearly a year of self-distancing measures, we continue to face record devastation. COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “In the next COVID-19 relief package, the hotel industry needs support from Congress and the Administration that will ultimately help small business hoteliers keep their doors open, and bring more employees back to work. Despite the challenges facing the hotel industry, hotels across the country are focused on creating an environment ready for guests when travel begins to return.”

While business travel itself will remain below 2019 levels for some time, business travelers express greater comfort in traveling for any reason compared to adults overall, and they are more likely to say they will travel more in 2021.

Leisure travel demand is projected to begin increasing in Q2-Q3 of 2021 as vaccine distribution increases across the country and consumers can connect with family and friends. In the year ahead, Americans say they are most likely to travel for a family event such as a wedding or family reunion (51% likely to travel), while many are likely to travel over summer holidays, led by the Fourth of July (33%) and Labor Day (28%).

While cleanliness has always ranked among the top factors when choosing a hotel, it has risen to the top in the wake of COVID-19. In a separate survey of travelers conducted by Ecolab in December 2020, 62% of consumers placed overall cleanliness in their top three factors when choosing a hotel—a 24% increase over pre-COVID preferences. Further, 53% of consumers say that enhanced cleaning regimens will make them feel more comfortable staying at a hotel.

At the onset of the pandemic, the hotel industry acted quickly to enhance already rigorous cleaning and safety protocols to ensure the safety of employees and guests. AHLA’s Safe Stay initiative focuses on enhanced cleaning measures and safety guidelines that help the industry meet and exceed the new health and safety challenges created during the pandemic.

These findings were also outlined in “AHLA’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021,” which details the forecasted state of the hotel industry in 2021 and into the immediate future. The report examined the high-level economics of the hotel industry’s recovery, the specific impact on and eventual return of business travel, and consumer travel sentiments.

Survey Methodology
The consumer poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA between January 7-9, 2021 among a national sample of 2,200 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, educational attainment, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2%.

The consumer safety poll was conducted by Ecolab on December 10, 2020 among a national sample of 556 adults who stayed in a hotel at least once in 2019 and are the sole or joint decision maker for travel in their household. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, educational attainment, race, and region.

U.S. Hotel Profits Fell 84.6% in 2020


Including a 100.6% decline in December, U.S. hotel profitability fell 84.6% in 2020, according to STR‘s latest monthly P&L data release.

December gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) came in worse than any month since June in both absolute terms and year-over-year comparisons.

“Lower demand in December coupled with fixed expenses for hotels meant profit declines on par with early in the pandemic,” said Raquel Ortiz, assistant director of financial performance for STR. “That only worsened the overall 2020 figures, which showed an average profit level less than $15 per room after coming in at almost $95 in 2019. As noted in our revised forecast, this year is off to a slow start amid a worsening pandemic situation, so the pattern of dwindling profitability will likely continue in the coming months.”

Six of the major markets reported GOPPAR declines worse than 100% in 2020. Among those markets, New York City reported the steepest decline in the metric (-136.5%). Minneapolis/St. Paul showed the largest decrease in total revenue per available room (TRevPAR: -83.8%).

AHLA Report Projects Recovery Outlook for Hotels and Business Travel


The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released “AHLA’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021” outlining the forecasted state of the hotel industry in 2021 and into the immediate future. The report examines the high-level economics of the hotel industry’s recovery, the specific impact on and eventual return of business travel, and consumer travel sentiments.

The pandemic has been devastating to the hospitality industry workforce, which is down nearly 4 million jobs compared to the same time in 2019. While some 200,000 jobs are expected to be filled this year, overall, the accommodations sector faces an 18.9% unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty in 2021.

Business travel, which comprises the largest source of hotel revenue, remains nearly nonexistent, but it is expected to begin a slow return in the second half of 2021. Among frequent business travelers who are currently employed, 29% expect to attend their first business conference in the first half of 2021, 36% in the second half of the year and 20% more than a year from now. Business travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023 or 2024.

Leisure travel is expected to return first, with consumers optimistic about national distribution of a vaccine and with that an ability to travel again in 2021. The report found that heading into 2021, consumers are optimistic about travel, with 56% of Americans saying they are likely to travel for leisure or vacation in 2021. While 34% of adults are already comfortable staying in a hotel, 48% say their comfort is tied to vaccination in some way.

The top findings from this report include:

  1. Hotels will add 200,000 direct hotel operations jobs in 2021 but will remain nearly 500,000 jobs below the industry’s pre-pandemic employment level of 2.3 million employees.
  2. Half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty.
  3. Business travel is forecasted to be down 85% compared to 2019 through April 2021, and then only begin ticking up slightly.
  4. 56% of consumers say they expect to travel for leisure, roughly the same amount as in an average year.
  5. Nearly half of consumers see vaccine distribution as key to travel.
  6. When selecting a hotel, enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices rank as guests’ number two priority, behind price.

“COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth. Yet the hallmark of hospitality is endless optimism, and I am confident in the future of our industry,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.

“Despite the challenges facing the hotel industry, we are resilient. Hotels across the country are focused on creating an environment ready for guests when travel begins to return. AHLA is eager to work with the new Administration and Congress on policies that will ultimately help bring back travel, from helping small business hoteliers keep their doors open to ramping up vaccine distribution and testing. Together, we can bring back jobs and reignite a continued investment in the communities we serve,” said Rogers.

The resurgence of COVID-19, the emergence of new strains, and a slow vaccine rollout have added to the challenges the hotel industry faces this year. With travel demand continuing to lag normal levels, national and state projections for 2021 show a slow rebound for the industry and then accelerating in 2022.

The hotel industry experienced the most devastating year on record in 2020, resulting in historically low occupancy, massive job loss, and hotel closures across the country. Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic after travel was forced to a virtual halt in early 2020, and it will be one of the last to recover. The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry so far has been nine times that of 9/11.

Survey Shows the Majority of Planners Have an Event Planned in 2021


i-Meet and EproDirect recently released its 2021 Planner Confidence Index – Phase 3, showing how planners have already taken action in 2021 to bring face-to-face events back.  i-Meet’s Planner Confidence Index is based on a weekly survey that records the evolving opinions of meeting professionals on when they expect to resume F2F events.  The survey began the first week of April 2020 and is now on its 42nd week of data collecting.

Below are the key findings from the survey:

81% of Planners have future events booked
This is a 12% jump from the end of 2020, which showed that 69% of planners had future events booked.

56% of Planners have future RFPs in progress
This is a 9% jump from the end of 2020, which showed that 47% of planners had future RPFs in progress.

90% of Planners expect to resume F2F events in 2021
This is a 7% jump from the end of 2020, which showed that 83% of planners expected F2F events to resume in 2021.

To participate in the next survey, click here.

STR: “2020 is Officially the Worst Year on Record for U.S. Hotels”


The U.S. hotel industry reported all-time lows in occupancy and revenue per available room (RevPAR), according to year-end 2020 data from STR.

In addition to historically low absolute levels in the aforementioned metrics, average daily rate (ADR) came in lower than any year since 2011. Year-over-year declines were the worst on record across the three key performance metrics.

  • Occupancy: 44.0% (-33.3%)
  • Average daily rate (ADR): US$103.25 (-21.3%)
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$45.48 (-47.5%)

For the first time in history, the industry surpassed 1 billion unsold room nights, which eclipsed the 786 million unsold room nights during the great recession in 2009. Based on November year-to-date results, the industry is expected to show nearly zero profit for the year when STR releases P&L data next week.

Among the Top 25 Markets, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota-Wisconsin, reported the lowest occupancy level (33.3%), which represented a 49.9% decline in year-over-year comparisons.

Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida (50.8%), was the only Top 25 Market to reach 50% occupancy. The market’s occupancy level was still 29.4% lower than 2019.

Oahu Island, Hawaii, was the only major market to post ADR above US$200, at US$215.57 (-10.5%), even as the market saw the steepest year-over-year occupancy decline (-53.7% to 39.0%).

Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia, came in closest to its 2019 comparable with occupancy of 49.1% (-22.7%) and RevPAR at US$43.93 (-34.7%).

In aggregate, the Top 25 Markets showed lower occupancy (42.9%) but higher ADR (US$114.09) than all other markets.

All of STR’s COVID-19 analysis can be found here.