MPI Meetings Outlook Report: Optimism Is Up but Challenges Remain
Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the world’s largest meeting and event industry association worldwide, recently unveiled its Summer Meetings Outlook, a future-focused quarterly report that identifies current industry trends, innovations and outlooks. Designed to inform and enable event planners to budget and plan accordingly, the publication is crafted as a comprehensive guide to help ensure a strong foundation for building sound and successful business strategies.
According to the report, meeting and event business projections remain strong, with signs of growth moving at a sustainable pace compared to the jarring ups and downs that have been seen during the past 30 months.
Some key findings in the report include:
- 81% of respondents predict favorable business conditions for the year ahead. This is down from the recent all-time highs but remains incredibly positive and strong.
- Costs are up, with the majority of respondents saying costs are increasing in excess of 6% for food and beverage, transportation, hotel accommodations, audio-visual and staffing. In fact, 41% of respondents expect F&B costs to increase more than 10% over the next year.
- Hiring challenges continue to grow, with 69% of respondents saying they are experiencing difficulty filling job vacancies at their organizations—the greatest percentage of respondents indicating this issue since this data point was added to the survey more than a year ago.
- Service levels are down. Closely related to the hiring challenges and “great resignation,” meeting and event professionals claim to be experiencing worse customer service than prior to the pandemic. Planners cite restaurants (73%) and hotels (72%) as two segments in which they’re experiencing the most significant decline in service quality. Thinking about events they’ve worked or attended this year, suppliers also identified restaurants (73%) as exhibiting the greatest service quality decline, followed closely by catered F&B (71%).
According to Jessie States, vice president of MPI Academy, event professionals continue to express high levels of optimism about future business conditions and attendance despite the challenges they face, from ongoing supply chain disruption, cost increases and inflation to worries about the economy and war, to short-term bookings and decreasing availability.
“Staffing shortages continue to put stress on organizations while also impacting service delivery,” States explained. “For organizers, this means more contingency, risk mitigation and management planning and enhanced communication strategies, while suppliers work to manage short RFP turnarounds, staffing (particularly back-of-house), an increase in unseasoned clients and tight calendars.”
She added, “Costs are up for everyone, regardless of industry, sector or marketplace role, which is leading professionals of all kinds to think creatively, focus on ROI and be flexible.”
Conducted quarterly and representing future industry trends and predictions from MPI members, MPI’s Meetings Outlook research is conducted in-house using the Qualtrics survey platform. The report is developed in partnership with IMEX Group. Read the full report here.
Providing innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges, MPI acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the meetings and events industry. The organization boasts a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals. It possesses nearly 70 chapters, clubs and members in more than 75 countries throughout the world.