A new report from Accor has revealed a need to focus on balance and belonging as the global meetings and events sector continues to recover and drive strategic growth for 2024. The report, titled “Meeting Expectations: The Future of Meetings & Events,” addresses the transformation that the M&E sector has undergone in recent years and explores the fundamental shifts impacting the industry as it continues to evolve and recover.
“The global business landscape is undergoing a profound transformation. The way we live, work and interact has been reshaped over the last few years, and the ripple effects of these changes have created new opportunities in the meetings and events industry,” Accor Chief Sales Officer Sophie Hulgard said in a statement. “The pandemic was a defining moment for the industry. We were thrust into a world of virtual gatherings, with in-person events grinding to a halt. Yet, we adapted and evolved. That evolution continues today and the one thread that connects all the trends we forecast is the human connection. Today, more than ever, it is about the human need to meet, share and thrive.”
Accor’s “Meetings & Events Industry Forecast” survey data reinforces the predicted growth trajectory. The majority (78 percent) of respondents said that their or their clients’ expenditure had increased since 2022, with 36 percent saying it had increased by more than 25 percent. Looking to 2024, the growth is expected to continue, with 80 percent of surveyed experts expecting increased spend in 2024, with 30 percent saying it would rise by more than 25 percent.
According to the Accor research, continued growth is forecast across all meeting and event sizes in 2024. Three-quarters (78 percent) expect the number of small and medium-sized meetings (under 100 delegates) to increase next year, and the same number said they expect the number of meetings of over 100 delegates to increase. More than half (57 percent) predict a rise in large meetings (over 300 delegates) to increase and three-fourths (78 percent) said it would be “very important” for their industry to attend exhibitions, conferences and trade shows in 2024.
Reconfirming the value of meeting in real life, 33 percent of meetings planners expect in excess of 40 percent more revenue from face-to-face meetings versus a virtual meeting, and the majority (80 percent) would not be happy to use video-conferencing to close deals in 2024.
The new Accor report also revealed five trends expected to shape the growth of the industry.
1. Softer Productivity
The work-hard, play-hard ethos once associated with business and events is changing in line with the demands of new lifestyles.
2. Selling Belonging
- Key takeaway: Balance purpose and productivity.
The meetings and events sector is all about one thing: People. Human connection and fostering a sense of belonging are the cornerstones of successful event design.
3. Designing Experiences
- Key takeaway: Celebrate the human connection. Sell belonging.
Event bookers are looking for a return on their investment, but they are more than ever looking for "ROX," a return on experience.
4. Green Gatherings
- Key takeaway: Create memorable experiences that forge meaningful connections.
Positive impact is the differentiator, and, more than ever, the sector has the green light to drive change. Green credentials are no longer a bonus for events—they will be a deciding factor in who secures the business.
5. Disruptive Technology
- Key takeaway: Sustainability should be the first thought, not the afterthought.
In-person conferences are now a vital way of bringing together people who may only see one another through laptop screens.
- Key takeaway: Digital has reach. Face-to-face has value. Being in the room matters.
“The meetings and events industry has demonstrated its resilience, innovation and adaptability,” said Karelle Lamouche, chief commercial officer of Accor’s Premium, Midscale & Economy division. “The trends outlined in this report stem from the DNA of the sector—face-to-face business matters. The human connection goes with commercial success, it makes business stronger. As the industry continues to drive recovery globally, it is the commitment to forging meaningful connections, being a catalyst for commercial and cultural growth and creating a sense of belonging that will ensure the sector exceeds its forecast growth. Travel is back, and, for the M&E sector, it’s belonging and balance that will drive the bottom line in 2024.”
Copyright 2023 Questex LLC. All rights reserved. From https://www.hotelmanagement.net. By Esther Hertzfeld.