Daily coronavirus numbers in the United States fell below 100,000 for the first time in months, creating a renewed sense of optimism across the meetings industry.
In the last 14 days, according to NBC News, coronavirus numbers have declined in all 50 states, as well as in Washington, DC. Ten states saw decreases between 10 and 25 percent, while 40 states, plus the District of Columbia, saw even more significant decreases of 25 percent or more.
There’s even good news out of California, which has been struggling in recent months with soaring case numbers and hospitalizations but saw a decline of 48 percent over the last two weeks.
The reaction across the meetings and incentives industry is one of cautious optimism.
Mike May, president of Brightspot Incentives & Events, and the 2018 and 2019 chairman of the Incentive Research Foundation, told Prevue that according to a survey the company conducted, 59 percent of those companies polled expect recovery in the third and fourth quarter of this year. Eighty-eight percent expect recovery in 2022. The time to start planning incentive travel is now, said May.
Julie Blank, CRP, CITP, director of strategic accounts for Brightspot and Buyer/Planner of the Year for SITE Texas, agreed. “When the world opens back up, group space will fill up quickly and rates will increase. Don’t be late to the party.”
Michael Dominguez, president and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International and a harbinger of positive developments throughout the pandemic, celebrated the recent numbers on a LinkedIn post, calling the downward trend, combined with similar trends around the globe, “sustainable good news.”
“In addition, we have 173 million vaccine doses administered around the world and 54 million in the US,” he said. “As the first dose was administered on December 17th, this really is a reason to be optimistic.”