Report: Mtg. Organizers Optimistic, Expect to Increase Meeting Spend and Volume in 2023

January 16, 2023
January 16, 2023

Meetings Group and Cvent in their latest Meetings Industry Pulse Survey
reported planners are increasing budgets to account for inflation in 2023 but
remain optimistic due to a busy fourth quarter and increased meeting volume
planned for the coming year. The report also showed increased satisfaction
with suppliers, while concerns surrounding staff shortages fell for the first
time in a calendar year. 

The Pulse Survey
collected data from Nov 22 to Dec. 7, 2022, from 407 meeting planners,
including professional conference organizers, associations and nonprofits (39
percent); corporates (28 percent); third-party independent planners (24
percent); social, military, educational, religious and fraternal groups (5
percent) with government- and sports-planners splitting the remainder.

costs remain a top concern for meeting planners as more than 60 percent are
planning 2023 budgets to match or better the market. According to the report,
41 percent of planners said they were increasing 2023 meeting budgets to match
what they are seeing in the market, while 20 precent are estimating and
increasing 2023 budgets by more than the market. Nineteen percent of planners
said they are capping budgets to remain flat compared to 2022 spending, on
average. The
remaining 20 percent said they are increasing and capping budgets to a percentage
less than the market (9 percent), decreasing 2023 budgets below 2022 (9
percent) or “other,” (2 percent). 

To mitigate the cost impact, 60 percent of planners are “finding
cost savings in areas that will not diminish attendee experience,” and 58
percent are “finding cost savings wherever they can.” According to the report,
21 percent are planning for fewer events that are “less profitable.”

Yet meeting organizers remain optimistic. Only 13 precent (a low
for 2022 Pulse data) reported feeling less optimistic now than during the
previous cycle. Sixty-seven percent of meeting planners expected to produce
more events in 2023 than in 2022. One-third of respondents said they had
late-year meetings still to execute at the time they took the survey, signaling
how critical meetings activity was in 2022 as corporates, associations and other
groups made up for lost in-person time due to the pandemic. Forty-three percent
of respondents said they would produce their next event in Q1 2023.  

Satisfaction among buyers with their suppliers was also trending
up month-over-month based on a scale of one to five, with one being “not at all
satisfied” and five being “extremely satisfied.” Meeting organizers reported
the highest level of satisfaction with destination marketing organizations and
convention and visitors’ bureaus, with an average rate of 3.75. Hotel partners
garnered the lowest satisfaction levels among surveyed buyers at 3.41.

That said, concern for staffing shortages ticks down. Meeting
planners, on average, rated feeling a 3.73 level of concern on a scale of one
to five, one being "not at all concerned and five being "extremely concerned." Previously,
levels of concern regarding staffing had escalated consistently since January 2022,
peaking at 3.78 in November.

Related:Report Meetings Volume Costs and Optimism Rise Attendance Lags

Editor's Note: Northstar Meetings Group is a
portfolio mate of BTN under Northstar Travel Group.

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  • Chuck Parsons

    Chuck is Score LA’s Executive Director of Events and Marketing. He aims to help business owners and would-be entrepreneurs in Los Angeles improve their business practices.

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