Meetings Industry Recovery Continuing to Move Along a Positive Track, According to Latest IACC Research Report
The recovery of the meetings and events industry is moving forward on a positive trajectory, with venues reporting continued growth in event volume levels, according to the latest IACC Meeting Room of the Future Barometer (MRoTF). Released on Nov. 28, the barometer is the latest in an ongoing series of IACC quarterly reports combining research and insights into the recovery of IACC venues, demand cycles, staffing influences and important trends being seen as venues work to return to 2019 operating levels.
Research for the MRoTF was accessed via a survey, conducted in Oct. 2022, and includes responses from 98 global venue operators, with more than with 59% of respondents from the Americas (U.S. and Canada), 37% from Europe (Sweden, the UK, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands) and the balance from Australia.
According to Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC, the latest MRoTF Barometer clearly demonstrates a growing industry recovery, despite ongoing geopolitical and economic challenges.
“Interestingly, regional disparities are becoming evident, with our report showing that Europe tracks ahead of the Americas in a number of areas, including the pace of recovery for residential venues and when it comes to requiring venues to provide evidence of sustainability criteria,” Cooper said. “I expect that we will begin to see this focus on sustainability growing globally in coming reports.”
Highlights from the latest MRoTF Barometer include:
- Two-thirds of respondents reported recovery of above half of 2019 volume, while one-third reported having surpassed a recovery of 80% of 2019 volume.
- Residential meeting venues are recovering faster than non-residential venues, especially in Europe, where approximately one-quarter of residential venues have already surpassed pre-pandemic volume levels, compared with 9% in the Americas.
- Since the last MRoTF survey in April 2022, the percentage of venues planning to invest in conference and meeting room spaces has increased from 65% to 70%, with public spaces the next highest priority.
- When asked about changes they had seen in the adoption of hybrid meetings in the last six months, the most noticeable shift reported by respondents was hybrid elements being added to events at short notice to accommodate remote speakers. This was more common in the Americas (73%) than in Europe (48%). Similarly, the need for hybrid to be added at the last moment because of attendee travel issues was almost twice as common for North American venues (60%) than for European venues (31%).
- Sustainability continues to increase in importance, despite regional disparities. The report shows that environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies appear to be of much higher priority for European event planners than those in the Americas, with European venues almost three times more likely to receive requests for their social responsibility credentials and twice as likely to receive requests for their environmental policies.
- The same is true for carbon measurements requests, with 21% of European respondents receiving noticeable requests from clients to provide the carbon footprint to run meetings at their venues, compared with 6% in the Americas.
In line with this, Cooper added that as part of IACC’s commitment to supporting its members to deliver on the requirements of event planners, the organization recently created a template of questions for planners to add to their RFPs. The aim is to help planners craft RFPs that enable them to easily assess event venues based on their events’ social and environmental credentials.
“From the point of view of IACC’s member venues, it is very promising that the report shows investment in facilities is increasing,” Cooper said. “As client expectations, preferences and behaviors shift, it’s important that venues prioritize investment in their technological capabilities and in upgrading their conference and meeting spaces, as a return to in-person events becomes increasingly preferred.”
To access IACC’s latest and all 2022 Meeting Room of the Future Barometer reports, go here.