Do meeting attendees occasionally make plans to spend a little extra time in a cool destination once their conference is over? Do they ever bring a spouse or even a family to a great destination for some rest and relaxation when their business is finished? It seems they do, and we decided to ask some of our meeting planners about whether they see taking advantage of personal travel opportunities trending with their delegations.
In a nutshell, we wanted to know if meeting delegates are taking the opportunity to become travelers for a day or two once they are already in a great city. And equally important, are meeting planners prioritizing an off-site event or events that showcase a city to give their delegates a few hours to feel like a traveler? With the help of our survey sponsor, Eugene Cascades and Coast Meetings, we got a quick read on these and other questions about our readership and their delegates.
When asked if and how often they included spouse programs or activities for families for their clients’ meetings, 45% of planners answered that they included those extracurricular activities quite often or somewhat often. Only 18% answered that their meetings never included any options for delegates’ spouses or families.
When asked how readers would characterize their delegates’ tendencies for adding a day or two of personal time to a meeting in a popular destination, the results were even more impressive: 81% of planners answered that their delegates either frequently or occasionally added a day or two of personal time to unwind in a cool destination. Fewer than 5% said that their delegates never added vacation time to their business schedule during a meeting or conference.
Almost half of our respondents said they try to include at least one off-site reception, meal or event that showcases a local destination at their larger meetings, and more than three out of four (76%) said they did that at least sometimes for those meetings. Fewer than 10% of respondents never offer an off-site event or meal as part of their planning services.
In keeping with the sentiment of the first three questions, we asked about the use of convention and visitor bureaus, the entities that can best suggest some local experiences for delegates as part of a meeting in their city. Here’s what we found:
Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents said they “always” or “usually” start with the local CVB for their meeting planning. Only 14% of respondents never start their meeting planning with the local CVB.
As America’s only meeting magazine that is dedicated solely to smaller destinations, we also asked if these planners were considering using smaller cities to try and lower meeting costs for their clients and delegates. More than half (52%) said they were doing that, and only 12% answered that they would not consider smaller destinations for cost-cutting purposes in their planning for 2022.
There is widespread national interest on the part of these planners when it comes to regions they intend to use for their meetings. All five regions of the country earned from 52% to 58% response rates as to where planners expected to hold their meetings in the coming year.