“The U.S. economy is entering the mature phase of the current business cycle,” said Joseph Bates, VP of research for GBTA Foundation. “That means we are nearing full employment along with steady gains in (gross domestic product) and solid business confidence. This suggests we will see continued, steady and growing demand on the group business travel side as well as the transient business side.” The Global Business Travel Association estimates group meeting volume declined by 1.9% in 2014. Bates said much of the decline was as the result of a cyclical snapback from 2013, which saw an 8.6% growth. The foundation estimates that group business will increase this year by 1.6% and another 2.5% in 2016. Most of the growth is coming from the corporate sector. “Currently, the overall state of group business is strong as both businesses and attendees alike continue to recognize the value of face-to-face meetings,” said Rob Scypinski, senior VP of industry relations and events for The Americas at Hilton Worldwide Holdings. “Face-to-face meetings continue to be a significant driver of ideation, deal making and networking.” Get the full story at Hotel News Now