Mike Dominguez on 7 Economic Trends in the Year Ahead

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Industry leader Mike Dominguez on economic forces shaping meetings and events.

A host of economic forces at home and abroad are creating a new narrative for meetings and events, says industry leader Mike Dominguez.

Mike Dominguez knows a thing or two about MICE trends. Currently serving as President & CEO for Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), he is one of the most respected leaders, and sought-after speakers, in the industry. Speaking recently at Prevue’s Visionary Summit at The Langham in New York City, he shared insights on global forces that are shaping a strong but challenging year ahead for meeting and event planners.

7 Economic Forces Shaping 2024

1.  We are already in an economic expansion, and have another 5 to 7 years to run. “In a bull market, the bull charges,” said Dominguez. “In a bear market, think hibernation.”

2. The U.S. hotel industry is back to a normal cycle for groups.

3. Core inflation is easing, said Dominguez “It’s just taking time for interest rates to come down. They will. And when the Fed lowers interest rates, hotel construction is going to explode.” But for now, the market is  going to stay tight for planners because hotels are not building.

4.  Luxury and upscale properties are leading the way in the hotel marketplace.

5.  Meeting and business travel are driving robust midweek occupancy at hotels. But this means rates are going to go up midweek as well.

6.  Everyone is paying more for airfare and restaurants, as well as for hotels, and we’re not getting more for it. “Rates are not going to go backwards in hotels because labor costs are not going to go backwards,” said Dominguez. “Right now, no matter where meetings go, it’s going to be tighter and more expensive.” Planners should look at concession requests across the board and not push themselves out of a very tight market, he advised. “Dust off the list of demands on the RFP and separate the must-have’s from the good-to-have.”

7.  The most concerning part of the economic outlook is the geo political situation around the world. “Otherwise, I can’t find pessimism in any of our data points,” said Dominguez. ” But, we’re in an election year. Get ready to feel exhausted.”

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