Slowly and steadily, business events are coming back

RFP activity for future events has increased slightly in Q1 but is still lower than 2019 levels: 2022 Global Business Events Barometer.

In Asia Pacific, the Omnicron variant impacted the business events sector's modest recovery in Q1 this year.
In Asia Pacific, the Omnicron variant impacted the business events sector's modest recovery in Q1 this year. Photo Credit: GettyImages/fongleon356

Global companies are seeing a significant surge in international business travel in recent months.

According to the 2022 Global Business Events Barometer, 80% of global companies surveyed resumed domestic travel in 2022 Q1 (up 16% from 2021 Q4), and more than half (55%) had resumed international travel (up 77% from the previous quarter) following the easing of Covid travel restrictions across the world.

The report, released by the Events Industry Council (EIC), evaluates business events industry trends by monitoring changes relative to the pandemic in two key areas: hotel group room nights and request for proposal (RFP) activity.

In Asia Pacific, the hotel group room nights index and the RFP index indicated a modest recovery in group activity through the start of 2022.

However, this recovery across the business events sector took a slight step back as of Q1, in part due to the impact of the Omicron variant in key markets. The slight slowdown in recovery was indicated by both RFPs (down 2% from 2021 Q4) and hotel group room nights (down 10% from previous quarter). In Asia Pacific, destinations leading RFP activity in Q1 were Australia, followed by India, China, Thailand and Japan.

The barometer also revealed a slight decrease (down 3% from the previous quarter) in events booked with shorter lead times (within 12 months).

For events in future periods, RFP activity increased slightly (up 2% from the previous quarter) but is still significantly lower than 2019 levels.

Commenting on the Barometer, EIC CEO, Amy Calvert, said: " The start of 2022 hasn’t been without its challenges, with the reality of variants and adjusting to living in an endemic state as well as the Russia-Ukraine war and unstable geopolitical and economic realities impacting our performance and our people. I am confident that we will continue to demonstrate resilience and collaborate in an effort to share best practice and insights as we navigate our continued recovery.”

Adam Sacks, managing director of Oxford Economics, added: “Global business events face a longer recovery trajectory than other travel segments, but in-person events remain indispensable to business competitiveness, and we expect continued recovery as global travel resumes.”

The Global Business Events Barometer was created by Oxford Economics using data provided by Amadeus Hospitality, Cvent, the Global Business Travel Association and STR Global.

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