Great Hotels of the World saw an 89% year-on-year climb in meetings and incentive enquiries in June.
The hotel sales and marketing alliance also reported a rise in the value of enquiries, as companies are starting to invest again in MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) trips.
Armand Guillemot, director of MICE sales at Great Hotels of the World, said the rise in enquiries was a sign of a long-term renaissance in meetings and incentive trips.
The alliance has seen a 31% increase in enquiries through its MICE desk between January and June, compared to the same period in 2010.
“ Enquiries for meeting and incentive bookings have been increasing steadily since October 2010 and have risen dramatically in the first half of 2011, signalling a healthy growth in the MICE market,” he said.
“Our enquiries are from a mix of agency and direct corporate buyers, mainly from France, UK, Ireland and Germany.”
While there is some demand for emerging destinations such as Seoul, Montenegro and India, most destinations requested are closer to home – the UK and Spain remain most popular.
Despite the increase in enquiries, companies remain wary of booking too far in advance and bookings remain last minute. Lead times for enquiries were on average six weeks in June.
Guillemot said businesses nowadays are “much more return-on-investment focused”.
“Budgets are cautiously growing but price is still a big deciding factor. Above all buyers are looking for flexibility and added value whilst remaining cost-effective,” he said.