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Attendee Networking Will Rule in 2022, Say Corporate Planners

A survey of 500 meeting clients by a regional hotel company finds that interpersonal connection leads the agenda for in-person events, ahead of training and education.

The one element that virtual meetings could not fully deliver during the Covid pandemic—deep human interaction—is precisely what corporate planners are focusing on as they create upcoming in-person events for their organizations. This was made clear in a recent survey of 500 corporate planners by Delamar Hotels, which operates four properties in the northeastern U.S. and Michigan.

About 35 percent of the 2022 events being organized by these corporate planners have networking and relationship-building as the primary objective, while other objectives such as executive leadership, sales training, and board-of-director strategizing were prioritized fairly evenly as secondary considerations.

Nonetheless, the specter of Covid stubbornly lingering throughout society was also evident in the planners’ responses. For instance, 46 percent said that their most-preferred logistical set-up for 2022 in-person events is to have all attendees show proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test, have social distancing at session tables and at receptions, and require hotel staff to wear masks—although just three in 10 say they require attendees to wear masks at this time. Also, 79 percent said that hybrid meeting capability is a central factor when choosing a host property.

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