Meetings Marketing: Be Ready for the Business Travel Boom
July 28, 2021
It’s time to start developing your meetings marketing strategy. While business travel recovery lags behind leisure travel, a projected spending boom is coming. While the segment’s recovery will take awhile and Delta variant concerns are rising, the segment’s long sales cycle means that now is the time to start planning and deploying your meetings marketing campaigns.
Business Travel Recovery
The travel industry is experiencing a bounceback year. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) traveler throughput data shows air travel is approaching pre-pandemic levels. However, segments of the industry are recovering differently. A Tourism Economics analysis released in June by the U.S. Travel Association projects domestic leisure travel spending to reach pre-pandemic levels by 2023, but business travel will take until 2024.
There is a bright spot in the analysis for business travel. Domestic business travel spending experienced a decrease nearly three times larger than domestic leisure travel spending. This means domestic business travel spending needs a sharper year-over-year growth to reach pre-pandemic levels only a year later than domestic leisure travel spending. The U.S. Travel Association forecasts a 34% average YOY growth over the next four years for domestic business travel spending compared to just 8.2% average YOY growth over the next four years for domestic leisure travel spending.
And while domestic leisure travel represents a larger share of total travel spending, business travel is forecasted to have more new spending from 2022 through 2025.
Meeting Marketing Strategy
The road to business travel recovery will be long, but due to the long sales cycle, destination need to start their journey now. There are a few things DMOs can do to set themselves up for meetings marketing success and plan for the coming business travel boom.
Madden recommends deploying an integrated sales and marketing approach — combining traditional marketing to push leads down the sales funnel and account-based marketing to pull leads up the sales funnel. This approach converges sales and marketing strategies and maximizes conversions.
Hone In on Target Audiences
Instead of targeting broad meeting planning audiences, Madden recommends developing ideal customer profiles.
By analyzing your destination’s economy, talent, and meeting facilities, you can:
- Identify the top target industries, conferences, and events that fit your destination
- Emphasize quality over quantity and increase conversions
- Establish better long-term relationships with sponsors in relevant industries.
Creative Collateral and Advertising
Providing your sales team with unique collateral that pairs inspirational and educational content will help them grow leads. Additionally, we recommend deploying traditional and digital advertisements that raise awareness of your destination’s amazing experiences and creating engaging content that shows off your unique meeting settings and attractions. The help decision makers see themselves holding a meeting in your destination.
Map the Decision-Making Journey
Use smart marketing tactics to deliver key messaging to decision makers where they are during key stages of their meeting planning.
- Geofencing and remarketing attendees of meeting planner conferences
- Partnering with vendors that enable you to target people based on their job title
- Develop automated drip campaigns based on lead interaction with your emails and website
- Deploy citywide experiences and activations during conferences
To track the success of your meetings marketing campaigns, Madden provides Voyage, our destination intelligence platform, to track your success and communicate impact. With its customizable dashboards, you can track the number of attendees, ADR, ticket sales, and more to capture the economic impact of your meeting marketing efforts. We can also help run post-meetings surveys to help answer economic questions and forecast future events.
True Business Tourism Partner
Bringing conferences and events into your community will boost your local economy and generate a collective impact. As part of our full-service capabilities and holistic destination marketing partnership, we are standing by to develop meetings marketing campaigns to help clients capture their share of the growing market.