RFPs Are Almost Back to Pre-Covid Levels

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The latest Events Industry Council Global Events Barometer shows promising signs, with hotel room nights and RFPs increasing for the second consecutive quarter.

Events Industry Council (EIC) on Tuesday released its Global Events Barometer for the second quarter of 2023. The report indicates that global business events are bouncing back to pre-Covid levels of 2019.

There is progress in several key areas for global events, including an uptick in request for proposal (RFP) activity to 91% of 2019 levels of RFPs, and hotel group rooms rising to 98% of the equivalent quarter in 2019.

Additionally, RFPs submitted for large and medium-size events during the second quarter surpassed levels seen in 2019 at 103%. However, RFP activity for small events only hit 88% of 2019 levels.

RFPs for events more than 12 months away are up to 98%, while those that are less than 12 months away are only up to 91% of 2019 levels. This suggests that the shorter lead times may be easing.

Regional Differences

While the report showed RFP activity increasing in all regions, the Middle East had the highest rate of RFP activity at 128%, followed closely by North America at 116% of 2019 levels. Western Europe is driving the uptick in global hotel group room nights. Demand in the region is now at 93%, bumping the global hotel group demand to 98%.

The report also indicates that business leaders are remaining cautious, citing a tightening credit supply and geo-political tensions as the main threats to the global economy. The trend of cooling economic growth across the globe presents an additional hurdle for the recovery of the global events industry for the third and fourth quarters of 2023. 

“The total GDP impact of business events would rank as the 13th largest global economy. It is vitally important for our sector and stakeholders that we continue to measure and share the industry’s wide-ranging impact and leverage this forecast model to tell our best story,” said Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council. “Trade shows, association conferences, corporate events and incentive events also produce catalytic effects. Areas such as knowledge sharing, innovation and employee engagement go well beyond direct event spending.”

Oxford Economics, EIC’s research partner, launched the Global Events Barometer in 2017, using data provided by Amadeus Hospitality, Cvent, the Global Business Travel Association, STR Global. The events barometer serves as a companion to the EIC’s 2023 Global Economic Significance of Business Events Study, released in May, which tracks key data points of the industry’s recovery from the pandemic.

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