Survey: Technology key for meeting planners in ’23

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

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

  • More than 70% of 2022 events had attendance at, or above, 80% of 2019 levels. Three-quarters (75%) of planners don’t expect the number of events and meetings to drop.
  • 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.
  • 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,” said Jeff Bzdawka, CEO, Knowland. “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.”

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