Survey: Experience enhancing technology popular with event planners

Meetings volumes continued to rise in 2022 and attendance is nearing 2019 levels

2023 State of the Meetings Industry
The “2023 State of the Meetings Industry” survey from Knowland and ConferenceDirect found that more than 70 percent of 2022 events had attendance at, or above, 80 percent of 2019 levels.

USING TECHNOLOGY TO enhance the attendee experience remains a key trend for meeting and event planners as they expect meetings volumes to rise, according to a survey. The tech trend is closely followed by a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion and a more casual meeting atmosphere.

The 2023 State of the Meetings Industry survey by group hospitality analytics firm Knowland and full-service global meetings solution company, ConferenceDirect, also revealed that staff shortages and inquiry backlogs are impacting service standards as rising costs redefine goals. The survey also pointed out that rising costs may cause planners to change their approach, including looking at new destinations. However, cost leveling, return of business travel, and budget increases will support the industry recovery.

According to the survey, more than 70 percent of 2022 events had attendance at, or above, 80 percent of 2019 levels. As many as 75 percent of event planners did not expect the number of events and meetings to drop.

“Less than 22 percent 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 percent are causing organizers to redefine event strategies and goals, including profitability,” the report said.

“While we have a way to go yet, the light is definitely shining bright towards a clearer sense of normalcy for our industry. 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,” said Jeff Bzdawka, CEO, Knowland.

“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. 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,” said Larry Hanson, chief marketing officer, ConferenceDirect.

In July, Hyatt Corporation expanded its relationship with Knowland to boost business.