Professional life has been redefined by the pandemic and companies are transitioning back to normality. After a major disruption in travel, many companies have already resumed face-to-face meetings and plan to continue to do so during the second half of this year. In fact, a survey by J.D. Power revealed that business travelers plan to travel as much in the next six months as they did pre-pandemic. The same survey also showed a 65% increase in corporate meetings within the U.S. from February to March of this year, indicating a major increase in just one month.
For travel buyers, one of the largest industry events is back bigger than ever and in-person, GBTA 2022 in San Diego. To get you ready for the conference, we explore how face-to-face meetings have changed because of COVID and provide our tips for making the most of your convention experience.
Why Face-to-Face Still Matters
The business world has constantly morphed since the onset of the pandemic; however, the value of in-person events remains strong. A recent study by Skift showed that respondents recognize face-to-face events as a key business activity: Nearly 80% of participants stated that conference and trade shows offer unique contributions that can only be acquired in that particular environment.
Consider these top reasons “why” companies and businesses are returning or are planning a return to in-person events.
- Employees make essential industry connections as they share process and strategy information with colleagues and partners.
- Conferences and trade shows provide an ideal forum for lead generation. These connections can easily provide a path for introduction meetings, presentations, and potential partnerships post-event.
- Visibility and heavy brand impact.
- Employees learn the latest tools within industry.
- Exposure to event key contacts, such as event organizers and key-note speakers.
- Essential face-to-face connections, which enhances networking.
All it takes to springboard your business to the next level is one amazing in-person connection at a conference. Simply put, virtual meetings cannot compete with the power of the human connection. Furthermore, the lessons learned from COVID have prepared event planners to promote a safer more digitally streamlined event environment. This may include aspects like on-line registration to alleviate close contact with others or wider exhibit hall aisles and one-way aisles. Taking things a step further, some shows plan to include health check stations, temperature checks upon entrance, and sanitizing stations to put attendees’ minds at ease.
Maximize Your Convention Experience
As conference attendance amps up and companies are doing more with less, it is important to get the most out of the event experience. The following tips will help you get the most out of your next convention experience, whether at GBTA 2022 or elsewhere.
- Select wisely. Consider the conference space and what it has to offer. Does it provide vast networking spaces/large meeting spaces that don’t require close contact?
- Sign up for seminars, presentations, and workshops that focus on the current needs of the market.
- If it’s your first time attending the conference, see if they offer an orientation. GBTA provides a first-time attendee session to give you the chance to get to know the convention, network with other new attendees, and connect with GBTA leadership.
- Download the conference mobile app to plan your sessions and keep track of the schedule. For GBTA, you can download the Cvent app for iOS or Android and select “GBTA Convention” to be looped into conference information and updates.
- Attend conference sessions and workshops that help you understand how your business aligns with the needs within the newly transformed landscape. At GBTA, Direct Travel’s EVP of Customer Experience, Christine Sikes, will participate in a group panel on dynamic pricing (NDC), Tuesday Aug. 16 at 3:30 p.m. in the Expo Hall.
Join Us at GBTA 2022
The Direct Travel team will be out at GBTA in full force this year. Join us at booth #2113 for an immersive experience and learn how to power your travel program for the future. From sustainability solutions to new technology, we're ready to guide you through the latest demos for products that can improve your travel program and deliver ROI for your organization. Best of all, when you schedule a 1:1 meeting with our team, we’ll purchase a carbon credit to be applied towards a certified project of your choosing. That’s one ton of carbon emissions effectively offset!
Don't miss your chance to snag a sustainably sourced promo item and enter-to-win gift certificates from our partners at Accor, Avis/Budget, Enterprise/National, Hilton, and Omni Hotels. We're also giving away domestic airline tickets from Delta and United, PLUS, our grand prize giveaway—roundtrip airfare for two and five nights at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso in Riviera Maya.
If you haven't already, you can schedule a time to meet with us by using the GBTA portal link (After login -> click Expo -> then Exhibitors -> search Direct Travel -> Schedule an Appointment). We look forward to seeing you in-person at Booth #2113, located just to the right as you enter the Exhibition Hall!