Groups market set to shift online

A groundbreaking study that reveals the enormity of the groups and meetings market, online behavior, trends and opportunities, has just been released by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Foundation and PhoCusWright Inc.

PhoCusWright Inc.‘s “Groups and Meetings: Market Opportunity Redefined” puts the groups and meetings market into context by taking into account where the industry has been and where it is headed.  The study provides strategies and pragmatic tips to help companies determine how best to plan for the future.

The first-ever in-depth study of its kind reveals that by 2008, the market is expected to grow to a staggering $175 billion (versus $164 billion in 2006), and 41% of all groups and meetings travel revenue will be booked online.

Providing a 360-degree view of this complex market, the report delivers facts, figures and forecasts regarding market size, future technologies, growth trends, key players, new market entrants and purchase influencers.

“What is among the most fascinating findings is the significant amount of growth projected in the ‘small leisure group’ side of the business, and that nearly half of it is projected to be online within just three years,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.

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The report says that while information technology (IT) adoption in the groups and meetings arena tends to lag behind other travel industry sectors, it is about to change, and as a result, that space will quickly become one of the industry’s next major competitive battlegrounds.

The report suggests that, “Given the tipping point this market is reaching, companies must be both proactive and agile and work aggressively to automate the entire distribution network and supply chain supporting groups and meetings or else risk ceding control of this space to competitors and/or new entrants.”
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