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IACC’s Latest ‘Meeting Room of the Future Barometer’ is Released

By M+E Staff

On Nov. 25, the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) released its latest quarterly Meeting Room of the Future Barometer. In a nutshell, the global association reports that the recovery of the meetings and events industry remains on a solid and positive trajectory.

Among the findings:

  • In the United States, the meetings industry outperformed previous forecasts for the third quarter of 2022 and is projected to reach 73% recovery by the end of the year and surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2023.
  • Nearly a third of meeting professionals say their business is already back to pre-pandemic levels, with another third predicting that return at some point in 2023.  
  • Inflation is having an impact, with 60% of planners reporting they are spending more on F&B. Transportation accounts for the next most significant budget increase.
  • University venues are showing an especially strong recovery, with half reporting event volumes of at least 80% of 2019 levels, compared to 29% of non-academic venues.
  • The balance of in-person, hybrid, and virtual meetings continues to evolve. Hybrid events are more popular in the United States and Canada than in Europe, with 41% of respondents from the U.S. and Canada saying that at least half of their events are offering virtual access, compared to 13% for Europe. When asked about changes they had seen in the last six months in the adoption of hybrid meetings, the most selected reason was to accommodate remote speakers at the last moment; the second most common reason a hybrid option was added was due to travel issues for attendees.
  • Venues are preparing to support the events industry of the future, with 84% of venues planning to invest in improved technology and 70% planning to invest in conference and meeting room spaces. 
  • Staffing shortages are becoming less of an issue, with nearly 80% of venue executives surveyed saying that shortages will have no impact on the services and amenities they are able to offer by the beginning of 2023.

The report concluded: “The meeting industry is on its final stretch towards full recovery, with a full recovery projected for most venues by next year….As client expectations, preferences and behaviors shift, venues are prioritizing investment in their technological capabilities. They are also upgrading their conference and meeting spaces, as a return to in-person events becomes increasingly preferred.”

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