According to the 2024 State of the Meetings Industry report from Knowland and ConferenceDirect, pricing continues to be an issue with 47% of meeting planners
The report reveals insights to help industry professionals understand what meeting planners and event managers expect and will prioritize in 2024.
“Improvements in staffing and technology have enabled hotels to respond faster,” said Jeff Bzdawka, CEO, Knowland. “Twice as many planners are satisfied with venue responsiveness compared to last year; however, our industry is currently undergoing a reset, requiring an alignment of expectations with costs on both sides. It’s clear from this year’s survey that to unlock our growth potential, we need to work to apply our passion and solve these challenges, together.”
Larry Hanson, CMO, ConferenceDirect, said, “Planners are optimistic, with 42% expecting an increase in bookings this year. Compared to past surveys, the 2024 report shows a distinct and promising movement toward normalcy. Even still, hoteliers will need to balance the scales between profitability and service standards to encourage and rebuild sustainable relationships with meeting planners.”
Highlights from the survey include:
- The rise in F&B and AV prices of up to 50% is a game changer for event design and production. Decision makers are leaning into their planners and intermediaries to aid in finding ways to do more within their budgets.
- Organizers may consider changing destinations and venues to manage meeting costs. Groups are more likely to relocate events to alternative markets to maintain event quality and avoid moving down in chain scale. This shift presents opportunities for secondary and tertiary markets to attract new business by offering quality products, services and attractive pricing alternatives compared with the top 25 market destinations.
- AI plays an increasing role in the meetings industry. Planners see opportunities for AI in expected uses, such as event mobile apps and virtual assistants. Yet, there is less excitement for AI in daily operations or digital applications, at least for now. And while sustainability is a top-of-mind issue, it has not yet made it into the KPIs of meeting organizers.
- Satisfaction with hotel responsiveness is up 100% compared to last year. However, planners are still impacted by staffing and experience levels at hotels. Hotel cluster sales models are cited as driving slower responses, and inexperience is causing longer contract periods. Planners point out that the lack of knowledge by both sales and operations staff causes them to work harder.
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