Meetings and events are back in a big way, bringing both triumphs and challenges. While global inflation and hiring issues are two of the top issues planners must contend with in 2023, the overall outlook for the industry is incredibly optimistic. Whatever challenges 2023 may bring, we’re all in this together. Here’s a look at how the meetings and events business has continued to ebb and flow around the world, with takes from our global leaders on where we are now and how things look for next year.
Around the world: Regional Updates
Integrated Travel & Meetings (ITM) continues to be an area of interest as meetings drive the return of travel. The levels of engagement as well as a need to integrate, vary based on where the two programs (meetings and travel) sit within the organization and overall business objectives. Most organizations are interested in data integration, supplier leverage, policy, and overall corporate social responsibility initiatives. In some cases, alignment is enough and the need to integrate is not necessary.
Latin America was already a short-lead market, but we’re seeing shorter lead times now than ever before. Forecasting has become quite challenging as 2019 is no longer a good comparison, and it’s become difficult to predict and staff events accordingly. Despite some challenges, planners are still being tasked with incorporating well-being elements into events as well as considering sustainability when making choices around venue selection and other decisions. They’re also navigating a major shift in industry players and competitors as many businesses downsized during the pandemic.
Because of ever-changing budgets, planners are pushed to be more
strategic and creative in budget management. This means exploring new savings negotiation tactics and focusing on cost-effective turnkey options (i.e., leveraging packaged vendor offerings, such as vendors with built-in AV facilities). Complex hybrid events remain relatively rare due to high costs, complexity of planning, and longer lead time requirements. However, simple hybrid formats—such as combining a meeting room with a virtual connection to add remote speakers or attendees to the discussion—are popular.
Europe, Middle East, & Africa
The meetings and events industry as a whole is recovering from a two-year digital transformation era, and the demand for face-to-face meetings is huge, predominantly in small to midsize groups. Large groups and events are starting to cautiously return as the fear of Covid-19 in combination with high cancellation fees from hotels make decisions difficult. Digitalization and technology development took a giant leap forward during the pandemic and are now adapting to the hybrid plateau. Planners in this region are optimistic these can improve small meetings as well as support overarching sustainability goals.
Cost is top of mind in the UK as large rate increases have already taken place across the board and may continue to do so in 2023. We’re examining the value of overseas incentive programs versus experiences that can be carried out locally for the same result to save money, and that will have an added benefit of lower carbon emissions with reduced travel. However, it’s good news for hotels going into 2023—revenues have been exceeding all expectations.
For more trends and what to expect in the meetings and events industry in 2023, download our global trends report by clicking the image below.