Poland’s Meetings Industry Upbeat
July 4, 2014
A seminar held June 11 at the Sofitel Warsaw Victoria hotel provided companies and institutions that organize business trips with an opportunity to discuss new trends in corporate travel management and Poland’s status as an international meetings destination.
The seminar was organized by the Orbis Hotel Group. The participants were presented with a report entitled Corporate Travel Management Trends, compiled by the Sana Consulting company and commissioned by Orbis SA. It was the second such study of the Polish segment of the corporate travel market, whose value across Europe is estimated at 39 billion euros. The report clearly indicates that the industry has a positive outlook for 2014.
According to David Henry, the Orbis Hotel Group’s senior vice president for sales, marketing distribution and revenue management, the market has entered a revival phase and is growing. Compared with 2013, there has been a noticeable trend among companies to regulate corporate travel management, said Henry.
In its main conclusions, the report says the number of employees traveling on business trips and the demand for hotel services among companies has grown 2 percent. Twenty-one percent of large businesses spend over zl.1.5 million on business trips a year and 71 percent of these companies have a staff member tasked with managing trip and hotel budgets. Decisions concerning business trips are usually made by travel managers (34 percent) whose key responsibility is to optimize travel costs (64 percent) and improve the efficiency of reporting systems (43 percent). A vast majority (89 percent) of companies book their employees into hotels owned by chains.
During the second part of the seminar, organized by The Warsaw Voice, a panel discussion took place focusing on Poland as a destination for major international conferences and other events. The discussion was attended by officials from the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, the Conferences and Conventions in Poland Association, the Katowice Convention Bureau, and the Warsaw Destination Alliance. The topics included insufficient spending on marketing for the meetings industry—Vienna was cited as an example of how it should be done. Around 2.6 million euros is spent in Vienna every year just to promote the city as a business meeting destination.
Poland’s meeting industry is worth $10 billion a year, equivalent to 1.9 percent of the country’s GDP, according to figures cited by Rafał Wilczkowski from the Ministry of Sports and Tourism. Meanwhile, in developed countries such as Britain and Germany, the figure is between 3 and 4 percent of GDP. Juliusz Kłosowski, the coordinator of the Poland-Meetings Destination project and the moderator of the discussion, said that the figures showed Poland has to play catch-up, adding that closing this gap would help boost GDP growth.
State-of-the-art conference centers are being built in several Polish cities, including two scheduled to open this year in Katowice and Cracow, and one nearing completion in Lublin. The latter could soon turn the eastern city of Lublin, which is close to Ukraine and Belarus, into a desirable destination for international conventions and conferences, helped by the city’s recently opened international airport.
The panel discussion was hosted by Poland—Meetings Destination, a project aiming to support the rapidly growing market for international meetings in Poland. Poland—Meetings Destination is project coordinated by The Warsaw Voice Multimedia Platform.