I realize that living in Orlando, where the number of biz travelers has always been outnumbered by children in Mickey Mouse ears, gives me a unique perspective on business travel.
I also realize that one-one meetings can now be done on Zoom, and many should be.
Those things said… now that the U.S. has reopened its borders from an 18-month hiatus, we need to ask – will business travel get back to business? On a recent flight to DC, I counted one other person traveling without kids and dressed as if they might be going to a business meeting (forgive me for stereotyping).
So here’s the thing… business travel drives economic impact, and I believe that exhibitions and conferences can lead the recovery. Since the Biden administration announced the November 8 reopening of the borders to the U.S., transatlantic bookings rose 70%. (Source)
To travel for work…. You’ve got to have a need to meet. And where does that need often begin? Trade shows and conferences.
These events are the catalyst for buyers meeting sellers, deals being done, and businesses given the opportunity to grow. Without that, we are left to cold calls and random emails. And ain’t nobody got time for that.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jody Mosley from Emerald at Surf Expo at OCCC and she said,” We decided to have a show, so we had something to build on”. In fact, organizers like Emerald Expos, Informa, and Clarion have all joined forces this past year to come together and rebuild, but they need US, the attendees, the vendors, the contractors, the events community to sustain the recovery efforts.
We’re beginning to see a lift – I was recently on site at the wildly successful NBAA-BACE at Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) recently, and while it may have looked a little different, introductions and conversations were happening everywhere and business was being done. It is these types of conversations that lead to meetings, which lead to business travel, which leads to contracts being signed.
In fact, the stats show being at a trade show is safer than being at the grocery store where there are no regulated safety measures in place. In-person business event participants are more likely to be vaccinated than the U.S. population, reflecting a vaccination rate above 80 percent and creating vaccination coverage that drastically cuts transmission of COVID-19 at those events regardless of the gathering size. (Source)
So, while I’m trying to keep the trips a little shorter, and perhaps travel a little less than pre-COVID…. Let’s agree to support events and encourage business travel.
Meet the prospect, make the call, and get on the plane.