As we’ve come out of the post-pandemic meeting industry it’s nice to be out and speaking in person for the past year. But what does the 2023 meeting industry forecast hold as we go forward?

Meeting industry forecast 2023

According to the 12th annual Global Meetings & Events Forecast, meeting professionals expect there to be more in person meetings. They also expect budgets to increase. But that also means they plan to do more with less, thanks to high inflation.

Planners dealing with rising costs and tight budgets are becoming more creative when it comes to finding budget-friendly options. According to Conventions South “this includes hosting fewer meetings, shortening meeting times, using less expensive venues and food options, choosing destinations close to their members, and negotiating everything.”

The cost of hotels and food is impacting the bottom line for meeting planners and they are finding ways to work around that.

Optimistic about the meeting industry

77% of respondents feel that the meeting industry will be strong in 2023. 67% think the number of in-person meetings and events will return to pre-pandemic levels in a year or two. I’m surprised that number is so low actually. From what I’ve seen most people are anxious to get out and network again. Airports have always been crowded lately as I’ve started traveling again for speaking work and for pleasure.

Face to face meetings

The good news is that most meeting and event planners expect 87% of meetings to have an in-person element. And virtual fatigue is a real thing. I, for one, am glad to hear that virtual is fading out. Part of the reason I like being a speaker is for the face to face, one on one with the audience. You can never get that same feeling from a virtual event no matter how well you do it. You can’t break bread over a virtual event or get instant feedback from an audience. Apparently, I’m not the only one that feels that way.

Meeting size

Covid is no longer a concern for most people. So meeting size is continuing to increase. Over 70% of events last year had attendance at or above 80% of 2019 levels. Two thirds of meeting professionals don’t expect the number of meetings to decrease.

Using industry speakers

One thing I’ve been seeing more of is that meeting planners are using more industry related speakers instead of general outside ones. I’ve asked if that is because of budget or if that’s what the attendees want and most of the time I hear that it’s what attendees want. There’s not much we can do as speakers to change that. Hopefully it’s a trend and will change, as things tend to do in this industry.

Overall the news is good. At least it’s way better than the past few years and there’s light at the end of the tunnel.











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