New survey suggests industry recovery may be slowing down.
Meetings Professionals International (MPI), the leading global meeting and event community association, previewed the fall edition of its quarterly Meetings Outlook report on the state of the industry at the recent IMEX America, the largest meetings and events trade show in North America. Sponsored by ALHI and in partnership with IMEX Group, Meetings Outlook gauges the opinions and insight of meeting professionals to identify trends and projections of the industry’s future.
According to this latest study, 70 percent of meeting and event planners expect favorable business conditions for next year. That’s a healthy number but down notably from the 80 percent who responded favorably in the last quarter. This is the fourth consecutive quarter that the membership of MPI has expressed a drop in optimism in business conditions in the meetings and events industry. In the Fall 2022 Meetings Outlook report, 86 percent were bullish when asked about industry prospects for the next 12 months marking an overall drop of 16 percentage points in the past 12 months.
In-person show attendance expectations are tracking similarly with a drop from 80 percent to 70 percent, quarter over quarter. Most planners, 61 percent, say also say they are experiencing a seller’s market.
Additionally, only 45 percent say they’re back to pre-pandemic business levels. This is down from 52% last quarter and it is the first time this metric has dropped since the pandemic ended.
On the plus side, the percentage of respondents who are having difficulty filling staff positions has significantly decreased compared to a year ago. The fall report found 52% are finding it difficult to fill job vacancies — a ten-point drop from the 62% from the Fall of 2022.