Last week, we welcomed nearly 40 members of the Research Advisory Committee for our annual in-person meeting in Washington, D.C. Through meaningful presentations from industry experts on the evolving drivers of international travel’s recovery and the disruption and opportunities of ChatGPT, the meeting was extremely informative, engaging and thought provoking. The committee had the opportunity to exchange and share ideas with each other through an open forum discussion. Topics discussed included sustaining leisure travel demand beyond the summer, destination management and sustainability initiatives and business travel’s new normal.
The group also heard from U.S. Travel’s CEO, Geoff Freeman, on the importance of research to advance U.S. Travel’s priorities and participated in an insightful dialogue highlighting the importance of advancing advocacy through research.
Not only was the meeting content highly valuable but the networking, connections and sharing of ideas were irreplaceable. We look forward to meeting again soon.
- The U.S. economy is not in a consumer recession, but rather a business recession. Consumers continue to prioritize travel and are willing to pay higher prices. While some destinations are seeing a softening compared to last year, and some indicators are ‘normalizing’ in the near-term, demand has not let up. Business travel demand has been fairly consistent, but spending continues to lag as corporate travel recovery remains slow.
- Blended leisure and business travel has emerged as a real segment with much opportunity—though how to best capitalize on and measure it is not yet fully understood. Destinations and travel organizations need to evolve to appeal to both the traditional business traveler and leisure traveler desiring new experiences.
- The United States has a competitive disadvantage in terms of cumbersome entry policies and processes. Based on Euromonitor’s Top Cities Index, the U.S.’s unwelcome entry process and challenging visa requirements have hindered the recovery of international inbound and has resulted in many other countries and cities being more attractive destinations to visit.
- ChatGPT is really a sophisticated auto-complete tool and has endless possibilities and opportunities to more effectively communicate, generate new ideas and even identify target audiences or analyze data in a spreadsheet but it also requires experts to validate the output.
- Strong research, supportive data and examples are essential to help make our case and advocate for policies that improve the travel experience and increase travel.