Skip navigation

Industry Survey Finds Greater Certainty Despite Omicron

Most respondents to Meeting Professionals International’s quarterly survey are now more optimistic about live attendance in 2022, and more decisive on whether to require vaccination for attendees, event staff, and service providers.

Meeting Professionals International conducted a survey of planners and suppliers between December 15 and December 30 to gauge the climate for in-person meetings in 2022. Unfortunately, the survey’s time frame coincided with the rapid emergence of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.

As a result, MPI prefaced its report this way:

Similar to what was experienced in early 2021 [with the Delta variant], responses began coming in immediately before many people first took note of the spread of a new, highly transmissible variant, and responses continued to come in as many locations reported record cases.

Nonetheless, the report features several insights showing a decidedly more positive assessment of how this year’s in-person meetings market will fare.

For instance, 75 percent of respondents anticipate favorable live attendance the next 12 months, almost matching the previous high mark seen in MPI’s summer 2021 survey. This accompanies the finding that 82 percent foresee favorable business conditions over the next year, a figure that’s near the level of optimism that was seen in MPI’s spring 2021 survey. Of course, the Delta variant stopped that positive trajectory over the remainder of 2021.

On a related note, “fewer meeting professionals are expecting increases in virtual attendance;” the figure is down 41 percent versus the same time last year, according to Jessie States, vice president of MPI Academy.

Vaccination Decisions Have Mostly Been Made
With vaccine mandates, planners are now more certain as to whether they will use them for their events. In fall 2021, 41 percent said they would require attendees to show proof of vaccination. In the latest report, 51 percent said they would do so. In addition, planners who said they would require event staff and service providers to be vaccinated rose from 47 percent to 55 percent of respondents.

On the other hand, the share of planners who said that they would not require proof of vaccination for event attendees rose from 25 percent to 31 percent between fall and winter. And 33 percent said they would not require vaccination proof from staff and service providers, compared to 32 percent who said that in the fall.

The share of planners who are still unsure about whether to use vaccine mandates for attendees: 19 percent. With mandates for staff and service providers, the share of planners who remain unsure is 20 percent.

Lastly, the “great resignation” continues to impact the meeting and event industry, with 60 percent of planner and supplier respondents indicating difficulty finding suitable staff. This is more than double the percentage of respondents who said the same in summer 2021.

MPI’s States noted that “37.5 percent of organizations report that they are hiring full-time staff and 60 percent say they are having problems filling roles.” One supplier respondent—Martin Kruijff, senior global account manager for healthcare industries for Radisson Hotel Group—said that “all over Western Europe and the U.S., the hospitality industry is struggling massively to attract and keep staff.”

“The implications of this are steep for an industry anticipating recovery,” added States. “A focus of MPI this year will be helping organizations create and cultivate workplace cultures that attract and retain critical staff.”

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.