Momentum around meeting cancellations

Meetings and conventions aren’t just falling … they’re actively being canceled. While it’s easy to write this off as the erosion of a wasteful corporate perk, it translates to genuine financial crisis for the travel industry.

Over the past six months, 402 conventions and meetings have been canceled in Las Vegas alone. According to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, this translates into a loss of $166 million for the city … and that doesn’t include lost gambling revenue. It’s no wonder that the city has to be inches from paying guests to visit.

Cancellations at Orlando haven’t been as bad, but the problem is merely one of degree. This year, the city has sustained an economic impact of $26 million from the canceling of 114 meetings scheduled for 2009. Because of all this, 146,000 rooms are expected to be vacant this year … rooms that were supposed to be occupied.

It’s been tough in other cities, too.

All in, this has translated to more than $1 billion of lost revenue in the first two months of the year from meeting cancellations, according to the U.S. Travel Association. The number is even worse when you factor in spending on rental cars, catering and local attractions.

So, for anyone who doubted the potential for more than 200,000 jobs to be lost in the travel industry this year … just do the damned math.