Mills James: Growth Points to Return of Meetings Business

Audiovisual services provider Mills James is on a fast-track for growth. Last year, the company’s AV for hospitality business exceeded pre-pandemic levels across all client venues, including hotels and convention centers servicing seven states and Mexico.

“In 2022, we saw corporate meetings of all sizes returning, and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” said John Watts, Mills James VP of hospitality. “People are tired of not being able to meet face to face; they are ready to get back on the road, network with their peers, and see what they have missed over the last two-and-a-half years. While all of our meetings venues are now equipped to host hybrid events, live meetings is still what people know. It’s what they like. And it’s what has proven to be the most successful way to get messaging out to association members and corporate employees.”

According to American Express’ “2023 Global Meetings and Events Forecast,” virtual fatigue is real. The study shows “attendees want to see each other in person. Organizations want their customers and employees to meet in person, too.” The forecast states that the meetings and events industry is experiencing an unprecedented recovery, and all signs point to a busy 2023. Internal meetings will be the fastest growing category in 2023 across all regions, with the U.S. leading the way, followed by Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Last year, Mills James supported more than 5,500 events. Approximately 45 percent were groups and conventions, ranging from small meetings and virtual events to big concerts and destination weddings. The remaining 55 percent was spent supporting more than 3,000 weddings with sound systems, DJ services, LED dance floors and video production services. 

“Being able to capitalize on the exploding weddings market coming out of the pandemic helped us to exceed our year one revenue projections,” said Salvador Bernal, VP of Hospitality, Mills James Mexico. “Our divisional revenue generated during 2022 positioned Mills James Mexico with more than 25 percent market share in the resort AV space (in some of the destinations where we operate).”

Mills James manages every venue with a local ownership mentality and ensures that all inventory is dedicated to each property—not shared with other venues. The company expects its hospitality business to be on a steady incline in 2023, with revenues growing by about 30 percent year over year.

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