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Costs Rising, COVID No Longer a Concern for Most

Knowland, a provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, and ConferenceDirect, a full-service global meetings solution company, recently released the results of their “2023 State of the Meetings Industry” survey. The findings are meant to help industry professionals understand what meeting planners and event managers expect and will prioritize in 2023.

Meeting volumes continued to rise in 2022, with attendance nearing 2019 levels and Covid no longer a concern for most. Cost-leveling, the return of business travel and budget increases will support the recovery’s home stretch.

However, the recovery also brings new challenges. Staff shortages and inquiry backlogs impact planners’ satisfaction with hotels and venues. Meanwhile, rising costs may cause planners to change their approach, including looking at new destinations.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • Attendee size is no longer a major challenge, and meeting volumes continue to rise– More than 70% of 2022 events had attendance at or above 80% of 2019 levels. Seventy-five% of planners don’t expect the number of events and meetings to drop.
  • Staff shortages and inquiry backlogs are affecting service standards; rising costs redefine goals– Less than 22% of planners are very or extremely satisfied with the response they get from hotels/venues. Fluctuations in the industry service levels and rising costs of up to 50% are causing organizers to redefine event strategies and goals, including profitability.
  • Technology and diversity, equity, and inclusion are key trends– Using technology to enhance the attendee experience is top of mind for planners. It remains a key trend, followed closely by a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and a more casual meeting atmosphere.

“While we have a way to go yet, the light is definitely shining bright towards a clearer sense of normalcy for our industry,” Knowland CEO Jeff Bzdawka said. “As attendees are more selective about how they invest their time, the style and character of meetings are changing. So responding to these key trends and unique insights into what meeting planners need to be successful must be considered as we head into a year of greater profitability and positivity.”

Even as fluctuations in the industry and rising costs are causing organizers to redefine event goals, “meeting planners are evolving their strategies to meet these challenges head-on,” said Larry Hanson, chief marketing officer for ConferenceDirect.Our survey reveals that it is up to the venues to match those efforts through partnering on elevated meeting experience, meeting incentives and flexible contract terms.”

Download the “Meeting Planner Survey: The 2023 State of the Meetings Industry” here.