Award-winning, concierge-level, audiovisual services provider Mills James is on a fast track for growth. In 2022, 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 meeting 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 the 2023 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, virtual fatigue is real. The American Express 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% were groups and conventions, ranging from small meetings and virtual events to big concerts and destination weddings. The remaining 55% was spent supporting more than 3,000 weddings with sound systems, DJ services, LED dance floors, and video production services. South Asian weddings are a specialty for Mills James’ Mexico operations, a market that has been increasing at Mexican Resorts and whose AV consumption is higher than others because the event is a conjunction of rituals that lasts two to three days.
“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, Mills James Vice President of Hospitality, Mexico. “Our divisional revenue generated during 2022 positioned Mills James Mexico with more than 25% market share in the resort AV space (in some of the destinations where we operate).”
Key to Mills James’ success is its service mentality. Unlike high-priced multinational AV corporations that have long held a monopoly on the market, Mills James manages every venue with a local ownership mentality. All technicians have superior listening and communication skills. They are passionate, and professional, and come with years of experience in running the new, state-of-the-art, sustainable AV equipment sourced specifically for the needs of each individual facility. Mills James ensures that all inventory is dedicated to each property — not shared with other venues — to preserve the look and performance of the technology.
“Mills James’ reputation is built on its ability to partner with venues and provide concierge-level services,” Watts said. “We do that through identifying and training our team to make sure we are providing true hospitality, not just service.”
The company expects its hospitality business to be on a steady incline in 2023, with revenues growing by about 30% year over year.