Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

Post-Presidential Election: What’s Ahead
for Meetings, Hospitality and Travel

The world is still spinning from Donald Trump’s surprising upset over Hillary Clinton last week in the long race to win the presidency of the United States. What the outcome will mean for the meetings, hospitality and travel industries is difficult to discern at this early stage. Much will depend on what happens to the still-fragile U.S. economy under President Trump, in particular whether he will follow through with campaign promises on trade, immigration and infrastructure spending.

Several industry groups issued statements last week regarding the election. Here are excerpts from a few:

“I congratulate President-elect Trump on behalf of the U.S. travel and tourism community, and am confident that he will be a valuable ally in advancing some of our industry’s key priorities. Mr. Trump demonstrated throughout his campaign that travel and infrastructure issues have his attention, and we stand ready to advise his administration on achieving his stated aims in these areas.” —Roger Dow, president and CEO, U.S. Travel Association

“Hospitality is a bipartisan industry that powers the economy, supporting eight million jobs around the country. We congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and look forward to working with him as well as government officials and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to advocate for policies that boost the economy, support entrepreneurship and business growth, and promote travel and tourism across the United States. — Katherine Lugar, president and CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association

“It is too early to tell how those relationships will develop and which policies will surface as priorities. We remain focused on advancing our policy priorities to support our business and associates: comprehensive immigration reform, infrastructure investment, equality in the workplace, growing travel, protecting our ability to do business in Cuba, and adopting tax policies that strengthen the American economy.” — Marriott International, as reported in Skift.

A Financial Times article last week singled out likely corporate winners and losers under the Trump Administration based on stock market trading so far: “Pharma and oil stocks boosted but investors sell carmakers and renewables.”

The Road Ahead in 2017
Various industry studies released the month before the election pointed to changing dynamics in the meetings, hotel and business travel sectors as we head into 2017. Here’s a summary:

American Express’ 2017 Global Meetings and Events Forecast: “Our survey respondents have indicated overarching program spend will likely be similar to 2016, but overall activity, including number of meetings or number of attendees per meeting, may see a decline.” For North America, the survey forecasts a 3.7 percent increase in group hotel rates, 3.4 percent increase in group air rates, and overall number of meetings within organizations to remain flat.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation issued a forecast in October, noting “an uncertain upcoming presidential election, sluggish global expansion, low inflation, weak investment and choppy geopolitical conditions continue to shackle business travel volume and spending growth.”

CWT 2017 Meeting & Events Forecast: Meeting planners in North America will see a buyer’s market in 2017, as “hotel supply will outstrip demand for the first time since 2009.”

Bjorn Hanson, NYU’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism: “As the corporate and contract rate negotiation season is about to begin, the 2017 outlook is for a change in the balance of power from sellers to buyers.” Corporate contract rates for 2016 soared with increases between 5.75 percent and 7 percent, he said, but increases for 2017 will be much smaller, ranging between 3.25 percent and 4 percent. — Regina McGee

 

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