Group travel – UK inbound stronger, US weaker… the expert’s point of view

Tim Hentschel, CEO of and Meetings. com is back at ITB Berlin for another round of top level meetings, as well as hosting the 5th annual European Group Travel Awards in the city, in parallel to the show. We asked him what the key trends are in the industry as he sees them.

Inbound to the UK is looking strong. Inbound to the US is a little weak. On face value, people may say that is political, but when you look deeper, it has everything to do with strong currency.

That’s one trend. We are also seeing a lot of last-minute vacations, both in Europe and in the UK. I think that has to do with the shaky economy. People don’t know what 2019 looks like, whether we are going to be having continued growth like we’ve had for the past ve years, or we’re going to be heading into recession. So, I think people have been less likely to plan a big vacation in advance, and we have been seeing last-minute weekend getaways being more popular. The same is true in group corporate, which has taken a dip. We believe that is due to corporations also being cautious about what the economy is going to do in 2019. Weddings remain strong.

What kind of things are you looking for at ITB Berlin?

We are going to mainly do our annual reviews with our big suppliers and distribution partners. ITB Berlin is the biggest travel show in the world, so we always put our biggest effort into getting the most done in the shortest amount of time. We will have C-level meetings with every major supplier and every major distribution partner that we have. To that extent, the ITB Buyers’ Circle is perfect for quiet, con dential meetings

You are again running the European Group Travel Awards in Berlin this year at the Intercontinental. How is that looking?

This year will be the biggest and best yet. The Awards are being held on Thursday March 7, on what will be a glittering evening of entertainment and celebration, for the awards. The evening will begin at 7pm with cocktails followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. The show will again be hosted by CNBC presenter Dylan Ratigan, with entertainment by electropop artists, Breathe Carolina.

Photo: Tim Hentschel CEO of and