Northstar Meetings Group and Cvent reported a strong demand
for new events and a busy Q4 amid rising costs in the latest Meetings Industry
The September-October data (as of Oct. 6) was collected from
461 meeting planners made up of professional conference organizers,
associations and nonprofits (39 percent); corporates (38 percent); third-party
independent planners (24 percent); social, military, educational, religious and fraternal groups (5 percent) with sports- and
government-planners splitting the remainder.
According to the survey, “demand for new events remains
strong” with “68 percent of planners booking or actively sourcing,” which
aligns with August activity. The industry can expect a very busy Q4 as the data
showed “62 percent of planners will produce their next event before the end of
The survey also noted most respondents were optimistic in
terms of the meetings industry with only 16 percent stating they were “less
optimistic than they were in August.” More than 60 percent of respondents were
“more optimistic” regarding how their outlook on meeting and events changed in
the last six weeks.
The highest report of optimism this year was among planners
surveyed in March 2022 (more than 70 percent claimed they were “more
optimistic”) contrasting against a wave of January cancellations due to Omicron—a
period during which sentiment was particularly negative.
While meetings volumes and optimism continue an upward
trajectory, so do expenses. The survey highlighted the impact of rising costs
as 86 percent of survey respondents said they were feeling the material impact
on their events. At the same time, they are trying to gain a return on
experience, but “cost containment is just as important,” the survey noted.
Meeting volume may be high for organizers right now, but
attendance is as much. According to the survey data, 2022 attendance was down
overall—still below pre-pandemic levels—and “will likely be down next year.” More
than 60 percent of respondents report Covid-19 is “not a factor” in their
planning. This group is up 10 percent since August, marking a growing distance
from pandemic concerns.
According to the survey, meeting organizers’ top concerns
remain rising costs, budgets and low hotel staffing levels with some
respondents stating, “the hotel industry is overpriced and understaffed,” and “business
is picking up—more incentives, more meetings. However, we need to watch costs a
lot more closely. We need to protect our clients’ budgets.” Additionally,
nearly half of respondents agreed that hotels remain slow to respond to requests
recent reports supporting increased staffing amid the hospitality space,
concerns about hotel staffing have grown among survey respondents. Rated on a
scale of one to five from “not at all concerned” about hotel staffing as a one
and “extremely concerned” as a five, the weighted average response was 3.8, up
from 3.3 in January.
Northstar Meetings Group is a portfolio mate of BTN under
Northstar Travel Group.