The event industry is eager to get back to business. But they’re not quite there yet.
When are events expected to return to pre-pandemic levels, and how are advertisers preparing?
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It’s so close, convention centers and travelers can taste it
Roughly 81% of professionals who worked from home during the pandemic missed in-person meetings and conventions. They also will be just as likely, if not more, to attend trade shows and events in the future. Leaders located in major event hubs are hoping that will be in the second half of 2021.
“As we move forward with the vaccine rollout, we expect the second half of the year will start to ramp back up,” said Stephanie Glanzer, chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International. “I’m a strong believer that we’ll come out of this, and Las Vegas will remain the top destination.”
Small events have returned to Vegas, but the first major event will take place in June. The World of Concrete trade show typically attracts tens of thousands of people, and will be the one of the first trade shows to utilize Las Vegas Convention Center’s new $980.3 million West Hall expansion.
It’s not just Vegas. Hotels, airlines, and convention centers across the world are gearing up for a resurgence of business travelers once vaccines are fully distributed.
According to Harvard Business Review, business travel made up 13% of international travel before the pandemic. Though this number may seem small at surface-level, international travel was critical for communication, trade and management of multinational corporations. For this reason, HBR predicts that international business travel will return to pre-pandemic levels before travel for internal meetings.
In fact, Europeans have already started traveling to Dubai for major conferences.
Keep in mind, McKinsey says overall global air travel is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, but “travel for sales and client-related meetings is most likely to be among the first to return.”
With business leaders eager to meet clients in person, are advertisers trying to speed recovery up?
Spend in the B2B travel and conference space in January and February of 2021 totaled just over $586k. Before the pandemic, this spend was $2.4mm across B2B print and digital formats.
Though spending hasn’t recovered, brands who are spending right now include convention centers in: Tennessee, Puerto Rico, New Jersey ,Texas, and Idaho. Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines are also advertising in the B2B space.
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