Weekly Now: The Good and Bad of the Post-Pandemic Comeback

Businesses say that they’re nearly ready to begin traveling to educational events once again, but the meetings industry is concerned the return isn’t happening quickly enough because of lagging standardization. Also: Why you should think of your industry partners as more than just vendors.

The news about the travel industry is starting to look optimistic again, though it’s still a cloudy picture as the recovery happens in fits and starts.

First, the good news: The Global Business Travel Association reported in a survey last week that 40 percent of corporations have already restarted nonessential domestic business travel, with another 33 percent working on plans to restart business travel. (International travel is slower, with 39 percent waiting to see what happens, a level more than twice that for domestic travel.)

Most of the 640 organizations surveyed expect conditions to get back to normal within the next two years for most types of travel, with 40 percent anticipating a return to pre-pandemic levels of business travel for education and personal development within the next year, and 30 percent within the next two years.

While the GBTA survey suggests a bounceback in short order, others are concerned that the return is not happening quickly enough, as Matt Swenson of the Trade Show News Network reports. The revival of meetings faces a lack of consistent standards for returning, which the U.S. Travel Association is working to solve in collaboration with Ohio State University as a part of its “Let’s Meet There” campaign.

“To get teams back to work and to get back to full employment in the industry, we need business travel, particularly professional meetings and events, to restart,” Hilton CEO and President Chris Nassetta said, according to the piece.

Other recent headlines:

Kicking off the hiring trend once again. The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association is helping to get people back to work after the pandemic with the creation of a new jobs site for laid-off and furloughed workers. The website,, has more than 600 listings already, with job listings free for existing FRLA members. “We’re hoping it’s going to be really helpful,” said Susan McKinley, the association’s director of research and marketing support, in comments to WUSF-FM. The move comes as the state of Florida plans to end unemployment benefits that were extended for the pandemic on June 27.

Supporting researchers in marginalized communities. The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) announced a fellowship program supporting marginalized groups in the field of postdoctoral study, which often face higher barriers to success. “Unfortunately, all postdoctoral scholars do not share equal access to critical resources, especially those from marginalized communities or from historically underfunded institutions,” NPA Executive Director and CEO Thomas P. Kimbis said in a news release. “A year after the height of protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd and just before the celebration of Juneteenth, we are proud to announce this intentional step in the right direction.” The initiative, titled the IMPACT Fellowship Program, will start this summer with plans for another class of IMPACT fellows in 2022.

More Than Vendors

Is it time to stop thinking of industry partners as vendors? That’s a take Scott Oser of Scott Oser Associates made in a recent interview with .orgSource’s Association 4.0 podcast.

One great way to strengthen a partnership, says Oser? Actually call them a partner:

There are still many organizations that just will not allow their industry partners to present expertise, to participate as part of the content. They are there and treated—depending on which organization you talk to—it seems it appears as a bad word, that they’re seen as vendors. They’re seen as salespeople, not partners. And I’ve talked to many associations over time, and even just suggested, stop calling them vendors, stop calling them salespeople. Talk to them and work with them as partners to your association. See how you can mutually reach each other’s goals, and you’re going to be that much further ahead.

Check out the full episode over this way.


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(Goran Jakus Photography/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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