Business News

Inflation Impacts Meetings in New Ways

Skift Take

New research shows that meeting planning is impacted by inflation and rising costs in ways few anticipated. As a result, obstacles abound, from unfilled job openings to supply chain issues yet to be resolved.

High costs are impacting all aspects of events with airfares influencing the choice of destination with planners opting for locations close to where attendees are based to offset price increases. According to the latest Meetings & Events Pulse Survey conducted by Global DMC Partners (GDP), sixty percent percent of respondents are making this call to offset this price increase.

“The economic challenges worldwide — inflation, staffing, supply chain challenges, and more — have had a dramatic impact on meeting planners’ jobs and their programs,” said Catherine Chaulet, president and CEO of GDP.

Sustainability also impacts destination decisions, with it being a particular focus of international planners. Sixty percent of international respondents report that sustainability goals are a driving factor in choosing a destination for programs as compared to 25 percent for those based in the U.S. and Canada.

Respondents said they have had to cut some program costs to offset increasing prices across the board. In addition, nearly 70 percent of respondents report rising budgets due to inflation and higher cost of living worldwide.

These findings focused on the second quarter of 2022. The respondent pool consisted of 237 meeting and event professionals, most of which are based in the U.S. with 22 percent in Europe. Ninety-seven percent of them have a mid-level role or higher. 

More Open Positions 

As the industry continues to recover post-pandemic, companies are hiring. Sixty-five percent of all respondents said their organizations are hiring or recently hired. To attract the right talent, many report having to increase compensation packages. Forty-five percent of international respondents said they have had to increase packages, while 30 percent of U.S. and Canadian respondents have had to do the same.

Overall salaries tend to be higher in the U.S. and Canada. Forty-two percent of international respondents reported annual salaries under $50,000. Of those in the U.S. and Canada, only 4 percent said the same, with the average salary being between $75,000 and $124,000.

What’s the number one desired skill set for new hires? On-site event management. That was the consensus among 75 percent of respondents. In addition, event technology and registration platform knowledge were cited by 61 percent, customer service by 57 percent, budget management by 57 percent, vendor management by 46 percent, and contract negotiation/compliance by 44 percent.

Finding the Right Balance

Work-life balance is of the utmost importance to event planners. The option to work from home topping the list. When asked about stress, on average, respondents rated it a 5.7 and their level of happiness with their profession a 7.6 on a scale from 1-10. “While we do see some improvements in the quality of their work-life balance, we notice more and more that it is sliding back very quickly due to the fast-paced demand for in-person events,” said Chaulet. “More than ever, their role as masters of all trades — negotiators, HR team builders, and creative gurus — are tested.”