Strong Demand for Meeting Space Could Trigger 2022 ‘Compression’

It hasn't taken long after the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines for industry experts to start using the word "compression" when referring to negotiations for future in-person meetings. With travel restrictions eased, travel demand picking up and planners signing contracts for future events, finding available space soon could become a difficult and costly endeavor.

"People are starting to become really concerned about compression," Strategic Event Procurement founder Therese Jardin said last month during a roundtable session she moderated for an Event Leadership Institute online conference. "The events that didn't get canceled for 2022 are still on the books, and then all of the 2020 and 2021 rebooks are getting pushed forward. It's going to be super-important to get negotiations and space-hunting done now, or you may find yourself not able to get what you need when you need it."

ITA Group event solutions director Erica White agreed that compression soon will be in full swing. "It's going to be happening in 2022," she said. "It's busy, and it's not just group, it's because of the individual traveler. Demand is just so high. Rates are through the roof, and places are busy. [Venues] don't have to be as flexible to get those groups in."