Industry whitepaper forecasts booming year for business events
15 March, 2022
According to the latest FCM Meetings and Events whitepaper, the business events industry could be in for a record year.
According to the latest FCM Meetings and Events whitepaper ‘Availability 2022 and beyond,’ the Australian meetings and events industry is expecting a potentially record year, thanks to the country’s high vaccination rates, border openings and reduced requirements for quarantine.
Despite 2022 starting off with uncertainty as Omicron cases reaching record COVID-19 case numbers, FCM Meetings and Events general manager Simone Seiler said the market is expected to boom again.
“With everyone in catch up mode after so many postponed events over the past two years, along with some first quarter events also being postponed – the market is expected to see demand peak later this year,” Seiler said.
“Some clients are also taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to the second quarter and considering pushing events back into the latter part of 2022, which is increasing the squeeze on availability.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of small to medium corporate events coming online and the overlap of large events happening around the country this year. The upshot of this is everyone is looking to book and stay domestically before international events progressively come on board in 2023 – fantastic news for the Australian economy.”
As confidence continues to grow, Nicole Tingey, director of industry consulting firm Clockwise, said some companies are confident enough to now start planning national, and even international events for bigger groups.
“These groups were predominately choosing city-based locations with global hotel brands and residential conferences with people from their own state, while utilising hotel meeting rooms and venues, but there’s now confidence to consider booking interstate, and into a variety of venues,” Tingey said.
“We’re also starting to see businesses use travel as an incentive reward for staff or clients to both reward and reconnect after another tough year.
“In Melbourne, for example, popular destination areas are the high country and the Great Ocean Road. While in Sydney, companies are opting for the Blue Mountains, and in Queensland, it’s islands in the far north.”
Looking to the regional areas, which were the first choice of companies wanting to avoid cities during COVID-19, figures from the whitepaper show they are heavily booked for 2022, so event planners could benefit from booking outside of the peak seasons.
Some of the most popular destinations that are will be in high demand over the next 12 months include Tropical North Queensland, Hamilton Island, Tasmania, Central Australia, Regional Victoria, Perth, Gold Coast and Darwin. Upmarket incentive resort destinations such as Lizard Island, Orpheus Island and Qualia on Hamilton Island are already heavily booked for the year.
While regional destinations continue to be a top choice, Marriott director global sales, Hardy Kilimann said 2022 is the year that city destinations will be back on the agenda.
“Over the past 18 months Marriott resorts did very well as bookings moved away from CBD settings, so the challenge now is for the whole meetings and events industry to work together to sell city destinations,” Kilimann said.
“While leisure travel is up, we expect that corporate travel, which was 70 per cent of our bookings before COVID-19, will take more time to rebound, meaning MICE customers will have the pick of CBD properties, which have the capacity to hold large events, such as national conferences, and there is wide availability.”