It appears we're moving in the right direction as far as recovery for business and meetings travel. I was very encouraged by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) report of some positive figures on airline traffic. IATA reported a growth pace that, barring any global catastrophic event, will soon bring passenger volumes back to what they were before the recession!
Specifically, IATA said February revenue passenger kilometers, a measure of demand, jumped 9.5% from the same month in 2009. While February was the absolute bottom for passenger traffic during the Great Recession, IATA noted that only an additional 1.4% would be needed to return to levels we knew in better times.
Middle Eastern, Latin American and Asia/Pacific carriers are reporting the highest numbers, while Europe and North America are growing at less robust -- albeit respectable -- paces.
This is good news, and it follows recent surveys that show meetings budgets are growing or at least holding steady.
And what makes the news even sweeter to me, is that, from my perspective, meeting with companies on a daily basis, much of the returning business is coming back in a better managed state than it was before the economic crisis, although there’s a "new normal" being established.
Every day, I see evidence that more companies are instituting SMMPs and the technology and policies that drive it. And if travel, meetings and procurement managers aren't yet employing SMMPs, they are aggressively inquiring about them and asking about benchmarking information, whitepapers, webinars and other intelligence that discusses the ROI of SMMPs.
Onward and upward!
Kevin Iwamoto is vice president of enterprise strategy at StarCite. This post is syndicated from his blog, Strategic Meetings Management