Meetings Are Forever Changed, New Data Shows

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Skift Take

Stressed teams, less demand, the popularity of drive-to destinations, and shorter lead times are among the findings of the Skift Meetings State of Business Events report.

Looking at the past can often help guide the future. Skift Meetings State of Business Events takes a close look at the current state of the industry, with an eye on what lies ahead in 2023. By confirming the major issues in the industry today, future planning can becomes more intentional.

Meetings and events are back in a post-pandemic frenzy but look much different than they did in 2019. They use more technology, are planned with shorter lead times, have smaller attendance, and most include the option to attend remotely. These are the findings of the report that was recently released. Featuring insights and charts, the report offers a detailed analysis of the data.

  1. Event teams are being stretched thin.
  2. Remote workforces have lessened in-person demand.
  3. Location sourcing is more focused on no-flight or direct-flight destinations.
  4. Event professionals see virtual events as a backup.
  5. Sustainability is not a top priority.

Another theme of the report is that demand is down and that attendees need a good reason to leave the house. “Attendees are less inclined to attend in person if they can get comparable value at home, and this is compounded by a number of inter-related factors including inflation, rising fuel costs, comprised budgets, and unreliable travel,” states the report. When asked how their business events have changed compared to 2019, 73 percent reported lower attendance.

When they do head out for a meeting or conference, networking is what they value most. As a matter of fact, 64 percent reported a higher interest in networking sessions compared to 2019.

One of the biggest challenges identified in the report is the decrease in budget. “Decreased budgets amidst rising costs are proving a tough challenge. Higher costs and compromised budgets are not only affecting attendees’ disposition to travel to events, but also the ability for planners to deliver to a high standard,” the report states. A total of 36.7 percent of respondents report a decrease in their 2023 budgets compared to 2019.

According to Skift Meetings analysis, the glory days of pre-Covid meetings and events are gone forever.

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