Already more than half of all corporate meeting and group travel is booked online, and that’s expected to grow to 60 percent by 2008.

That is among the findings in a new report by PhoCusWright Inc., based in Sherman, Conn., a 12-year-old research firm specializing in travel, tourism, and hospitality research. In conjunction with the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, PhoCusWright has, for the first time, directed its research on the groups and meetings market. The result is a new 43-page study analyzing the online behavior of groups and meetings, segmented it into three subgroups: leisure, corporate, and association.

PhoCusWright values the travel-only portion of corporate meetings (air, hotel, ground transportation, etc.) at $38 billion in 2005 and says that 53 percent ($19.8 billion) of that was booked online. By 2008, PhoCusWright predicts that 60 percent of corporate meetings will book online, representing $24 billion in sales.

The detailed report looks in-depth at the forces moving group buying online—and the online barriers facing the meetings market. Among the hurdles to a more technologically sophisticated meetings industry are its lack of standards, the complex nature of the meeting purchase, a lack of centralized inventory, and the industry’s emphasis on relationships.
For more detailed information about the report, which is selling for $300, visit the PhoCusWrightWeb site.