According to the latest meetings and events data from hospitality analytics firm Knowland, U.S. group meetings volume increased 28.4 percent in May over April. The average number of attendees in May 2021 was 65 compared to 64 in May 2019, aligning with 2019 performance.
The average space used in May 2021 was 2,601 square feet while meetings in May 2019 averaged 2,386 square feet. Average space used is continuing to decline as distancing restrictions are lifted.
The corporate segment represents 58.9 percent of meeting and event business. The financial/banking segment enters the top markets for meetings with healthcare, training/education, technology, manufacturing and financial/banking as the biggest producers.
The top five growth markets in May were Indianapolis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and San Diego.
Throughout the summer, Knowland forecasts higher attendees and lower average space per person as meeting restrictions continue to be lifted. Increases in social, military, educational, religious and fraternal events are expected, which is typical for the summer months, according to the company.
“Meeting numbers grew in double digits again in May,” said Kristi White, VP of product management at Knowland. “Attendees and size of space used is moving closer to 2019 numbers. This is one of the truest signs the industry is returning to normal. Additionally, the markets with the largest month-over-month growth are markets we haven’t seen in our top five list so far this year. This means growth is spreading across more markets. As we approach the summer, growth should continue. Further into the year, we expect metrics to get even closer to 2019 benchmarks.”