The survey ran over a period of three weeks in March 2022 with 87 venue operators from three continents the Americas, Europe and Australia taking part in the research study.
Respondents globally reported that 2023 would be, the first year, to surpass 2019 meetings and business events revenue levels. Predictions however, differ slightly by country with projected revenues in Denmark, to surpass 2019 levels as early as 2022 while, the Americas had a slightly longer outlook with revenues not returning to prior the pandemic levels until 2024.
The study, which is financially supported by IACC’s partners Encore Global, Benchmark Hospitality, Flik Hospitality Group/Rapport and Aramark Conferencing, shows that in 2021, average meeting and business events revenue was 45 percent lower than 2019 levels but in 2022, this percentage is expected to shrink to just eight percent below 2019 levels.
Sustainability continues to be an emerging topic, with some improvements made since the 2021 report. The report shows that, in general, there is more of a focus on environmental and social responsibility at venues in Europe and Australia when compared with North American venues.
Forty six percent of respondents to this year’s survey reported that, they are receiving increased requests from clients to either state or provide social responsibility and environmental credentials.
There is one sustainable practice, where venues, have shown considerable improvement since 2020, and that is the ability to donate unused food to local community outreach programmes.
More than one-half of responding venues report this option compared with only 23 percent of venues in 2020, and North American venues reporting a greater likelihood of offering healthy food options and the ability to donate unused foods than other regions.
The study further supports the gradual return to meetings weighted towards more in-person interactions. In 2021, 30 percent of respondents reported that more than 90 percent of their live meetings and events also offered virtual access.
In 2022 this percentage has dropped to 19 percent. This is corroborated by IACC’s report, The Future of the Meeting Industry, from February 2022, which showed that the value of human interaction is ranked the highest of seven factors when considering attending an in-person meeting, above expanding your network, scheduling and cost of attending. Collaboration with colleagues is also highly ranked.
The study also predicts that shortages in talent will be alleviated over time with overall respondents, who do not anticipate that workforce shortages, will negatively impact their ability to meet client and attendee needs. As 2022 unfolds, 55 percent of respondents reported that their venue has or will return to full-staffing levels by the end of 2022.
According to IACC’s annual Meeting Room of the Future Barometer 2022, two-thirds of venues say they will recover to 2019 meeting revenue levels in 2022 or 2023, with Danish and Australian venues predicting the fastest recovery.