2023: The Year of the Comeback
I recently saw a great post on LinkedIn by Kathy Roche, director, meeting planning, travel & events at Western & Southern Financial Group: “2020 changed me. 2021 broke me. 2022 opened my eyes. 2023 I’m coming back.”
There’s no denying that we have been changed by the past three years, both personally and professionally. I agree with Kathy that 2023 is the year of our return to business and normalcy—as much as we can expect that in this industry.
The numbers for 2023 lead in an upward direction: Numerous experts (including U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen) are predicting a cooldown of inflation. Though hotel rates worldwide are forecast to increase again in 2023 because of pent-up demand for in-person meetings, the new American Express Global Business Travel report expects the rate of increase to be lower than in 2022. The word “normal” is creeping back into the discussion of supply chain issues.
The labor shortage, a huge challenge for the service industry, is likely to continue—and increased wages are proving not to be enough. A recent article in Hotel Management magazine suggested that added benefits, more flexibility and (no surprise here) making employees feel valued are essential for hotels looking to retain workers.
For the most part, COVID has become integrated into our lives and the way we approach our events. In fact, most of the meeting planners we have spoken with are no longer taking any precautions other than pre-event testing—and the use of that is declining as well. We’re prepared in advance for the falloff in numbers, both attendees and staff, and used to working around that.
This month’s cover story, Value-Add Partnerships, by senior contributing editor Regina Baraban discusses how to work with hotel partners as partners—not adversaries—to create value in 2023. “Value is derived when hotels/resorts and clients are willing to work within a budget and/or offer creative alternatives—a successful relationship [starts with] an open and honest discussion,” says Kimberly Bean, event specialist, KBT Creative Support Services.
In this issue, you’ll also find Prevue’s annual Mexico Meeting & Incentive Planner as well as the annual special section on Florida. There’s also an array of on locations—Celebrity Beyond, Universal Orlando Resort; Atlantic City and the Florida Keys. The first issue of 2023 also includes The Real Deal for Meetings article, with a focus on how gaming resorts are delivering on the meetings front.
Enjoy the issue. —Barbara Scofidio