The mood among meetings professionals is increasingly positive, according to a global survey by American Express GBT.
When asked about the health of the meetings and events industry, 82% of professionals chose eight or higher on a scale of one to 10, compared to 77% last year and 71% the year before.
Amex GBT’s 13th Annual Global Meetings and Events Forecast concluded that internal meetings are will continue to significantly drive industry growth this year, primarily driven by organisations seeking to build relationships and connect their distributed workforces.
Internal meetings and customer advisory boards are set to see the biggest increase, with 42% of respondents saying there will be more of both types of meetings next year, followed by incentives (38%), small and simple meetings, product launches, and senior leadership meetings (37% each), conferences with trade shows (35%), and conferences without trade shows (30%).
Gerardo Tejado, SVP, Professional Services, Amex GBT, said: “With more distributed workforces than ever, companies are re-evaluating the importance of internal interactions for team cohesion, productivity, creativity, engagement, employee welfare. It’s never been clearer that in-person meetings and interactions are irreplaceable, with face-to-face connections and building relationships serving as cornerstones of personal and professional success.
“Our Forecast indicates that 2024 will be a dynamic year – not only are budgets and attendee numbers rising, but we’re also seeing technology adoption accelerating dramatically.”
Respondents globally said the majority of their meetings and events next year will be either entirely in-person (59%) or hybrid (20%), with the remaining 21% virtual.
North America and Europe lead the way in face-to-face meetings, at 63%.
The report found the overall number of attendees also continues to recover “even in the face of uncertainty over inflation and extreme weather”, with 28% of respondents saying their programs have already met or exceeded pre-pandemic attendee levels and 42% of respondents expecting to reach that goal in 2024.
Among those whose numbers have not fully recovered yet, 47% cited cost at the main concern, followed by attendee health concerns (41%), and attendee safety concerns (40%).
Almost 75% of survey respondents said their lead times are either the same as (45%) or shorter than (27%) last year, citing a delay in securing budget approvals as the main reason.
The Amex GBT report was based on survey of more than 500 meetings and events professionals worldwide with additional commentary from more than a dozen industry leaders.