So far, 2024 is getting off to a great start for the speaking industry. Every year several companies put out a yearly speaking industry forecast. If you’ve been working as a speaker for any length of time you probably already have a good gauge at how things are going. However, trends do still exist and change according to the economy and other disruptive issues.

Speaking industry forecast

Obviously Covid disrupted the meeting and event industry like nothing we’ve seen in a long time. But according to meeting and event professionals we are back on track to at least tie with pre-pandemic levels of face-to-face meetings. According to Knowland’s Hospitality Group and Business Performance Index we’re at close to 90%. During the pandemic many industry professionals left the business. But the good news is that more are staying and entering now. And their optimism for the future is high.

According to the American Express survey, 84% are optimistic about the future of the meeting and event industry. 81% expect their meetings to have a face-to-face component and 63% expect them to be totally face-to-face. Face-to-face meetings offer more opportunities for team building and collaboration.

Meeting and event spending

Meeting spending in general is expected to increase 4.2% in North America. Unfortunately, inflation is putting a damper on things and most don’t think the extra budget money is keeping up with inflation. Therefore they are looking into ways to cut costs across the board.

Maximizing sponsorship

With budgets being cut and inflation on the rise, more interactive sponsorship is being sought out. There have always been free speaking opportunities but during tough times you tend to get more of those. Speakers who have their own sponsors have tons of opportunities to make money by taking those free jobs and having their sponsors pay the bill. It increases the number of jobs out there and decreases the competition.

Diversity and sustainability

Almost a third of planners said they would try choosing diverse suppliers if they could. 70% said sustainability was very important to their organization. A majority want to incorporate it into meetings and events where they can.

Business and leisure travel

Another upcoming trend I happen to like is the blending of business and leisure travel and the opportunity to explore outside of the conference venue. This trend is expected to continue. Hopefully this will attract more attendees who might not think of traveling for business.

AI for meetings and events

AI is helping meeting and event planners better customize the event experience. It can analyze attendee demographics, track engagement, and monitor social media. This helps provide valuable insights to make better decisions. Strategies can be altered to maximize success and time-consuming tasks can be streamlined.

Experiential meetings

Another trend that will continue from last year is more experiential events. This includes interactive technology and immersive environments through sensory elements. As a speaker, how can you add more of this to what you offer?

Hybrid meetings

The majority of planners expect to have more face-to-face meetings, but they are still keeping hybrid on the table to attract more national and international attendees.

Almost half of planners expect to see more internal meetings and local meetings as being on the rise. As a speaker, I’ve seen this too. A lot of those meetings are still in offsite locations. I’ve noticed this too. Planners can also save money on speakers by booking ones who live close to the conference venue.

Speaking industry forecast 2024

These are some of the trends that meeting and event planners will be implementing as part of the speaking industry forecast for 2024. How can you help improve the experience for them as a speaker?



Every year American Express puts together a global meetings and events forecast. This year over 550 meeting and event specialists from 5 continents and 33 countries took part in the study. The great news for speakers is that there is optimism across the board that the meeting and event industry is still in a growth phase. The speaking industry forecast 2020 is bright!

Speaking industry forecast 2020

Spending is up in North America, Europe, Central/South America and Asia. Meetings are going to be longer, meaning more opportunities for more speakers. I’m already hearing about meetings and conferences that are looking for several keynote or general speakers. 70% of meeting and event leaders have said they are very optimistic about the future of meetings.

Face to face meetings are still one of the best ROI for businesses. Virtual meetings will be up slightly as well, but nothing beats face to face meetings for serious networking.

Good news for those speakers who have their own sponsors is that there will be more people attending meetings and conferences in 2020. The bigger the audience, the more money you can get from your sponsors.

More money for speakers

Spending is also up across the board, but that doesn’t always translate into more money for speakers, since the costs of everything they have to pay for is also going up and they have to factor that into their budgets. So event planners may still be dealing with having to do more with less, which is still fine if you have you own sponsors.

Since prices will be going up and demand will exceed supply, planners will probably start planning events further in advance.

Just like last year, interactive technology is playing a bigger role. Over half of planners want their attendees to have a great experience and are devoting more time to making that happen. Engagement is going to continue to be a huge part of events, both during the event and afterwards through polling, etc.

Most planners also agree that this is the year to have fully integrated technology at events, as long as it’s integrated successfully. Are you a technology speaker who can address this issue?

Wellness will play an important role in meetings in 2020. Are you a wellness or work life balance speaker who can help?

And events will also become more and more personalized, with feedback from attendees.

The good news for speakers is that the meeting and event industry will continue to be strong in 2020. Figure out how you fit into the picture and how you can help planners shine.

As a professional speaker and someone who works to get paid work for speakers, I was happy to see the latest report from Meetings Outlook for the speaking industry forecast for 2018. The survey showed a majority of experts in the meeting and event industry said they predict 2018 will be a good one for growth.

One reason speakers have been struggling with free and low fee gigs is because supply has been greater than demand. But for the first time in years, demand is starting to curve slightly in favor of supply.

Over half predict favorable business conditions and slightly higher budgets in the new year. Live attendance is expected to grow approximately 1.6%. Still not enough to have full employment for speakers, but definitely a trend in the right direction. More demand than supply will also mean higher fees for speakers who are working.

According to IBTM World, the industry’s leading showcase of meetings, incentives, conferences and events, “there is significant optimism among meeting and event planners”. This is based on their Trends Watch Report, which was compiled using 25 key sources of industry data.

It seems diversity and inclusion will be on the minds of meeting planners in 2018 according to IMEX. “We at IMEX have experienced the rising importance of diversity in the industry, particularly around women in the workplace and career advancement.” The idea of having more women and minority speakers had been debated for years. Maybe it’s finally trending in that direction.

According to the 2018 SITE Index more than half of planners think their incentive travel budgets will increase. But that doesn’t mean they won’t still be watching their budget. Most will still remain frugal about unnecessary spending, especially as the costs of everything will be going up.

This means as a speaker you would be wise to continue giving meeting planners the best return possible on their investment. Even though demand is trending upward, they will still be looking for the best value for their audience.