As organizations continue to focus on building relationships and connecting with distributed workforces, internal meetings are expected to be the most significant growth driver for the meetings and events industry in 2024. The 2024 Global Meetings and Events Forecast produced by American Express GBT Meetings & Events revealed this and other valuable meetings and events insights culled from a survey of 500 professionals from 26 countries around the world, as well as commentary from more than a dozen industry leaders.
Not only do 48% of respondents predict more attendees at internal meetings next year, but they also indicated that incentives will be up 38%; small and simple meetings, product launches, and senior leadership meetings will increase 37% each; conferences with trade shows will see gains of 35%; and conferences without trade shows are not far behind at 30%.
“With more distributed workforces than ever, companies are re-evaluating the importance of internal interactions for team cohesion, productivity, creativity, engagement, and 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,” says Gerardo Tejado, senior vice president of professional services, Amex GBT.
Confidence in the health of the meetings and events industry continues to grow with 82% of respondents saying they are optimistic compared to 77% last year. On another positive note, 67% indicated that corporate meetings and events budgets are increasing, which is fortunate since Amex GBT’s Hotel Monitor 2024 suggests that hotel rates are likely to increase in most locations globally with meetings and events expected to replace the diminishing demand of leisure travel.
Sustainability adoption also continues to rise, with most meeting professionals (78%) saying their organizations will have net-zero goals by the end of 2024. Identifying certified suppliers (39%), budgeting (35%), measuring impact and post-event carbon dioxide calculation (32%), finding locations with minimal travel (28%), and having a lack of skills, resources, and knowledge (23%) are the biggest challenges regarding sustainability goals.
Other valuable meetings and events insights provided by the 2024 forecast involve how technology is making major changes in the way meeting professionals do their jobs ranging from destination research to event communication and registration automation. Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used for personalized attendee communications, mobile apps continue to be a staple in meetings and events with a predicted usage rate of over 60%, and 41% expect to use virtual reality next year.