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Key Takeaways from Knowland’s 2024 Meetings-Industry Report

Planners foresee more meetings and more attendees per meeting—but also big cost increases in certain areas that will force them to change tactics.

The latest research from Knowland, a meetings-data provider for the hospitality industry, and third-party planning firm ConferenceDirect finds that 42 percent of planners expect to coordinate even more meetings than they did in 2023, when many organizations held a greater number of meetings than usual to make up for those postponed during the Covid pandemic.

In addition, 64 percent of planners expect the size of their meetings to grow this year, with one-third of those planners expecting attendance increases of greater than 10 percent. 

When it comes to doing the granular work for their meetings, however, planners’ perceptions and experiences are not as positive. The proof:

• 29 percent of planners say that their RFPs are getting fewer responses from hotels than a year ago, while 16 percent say they are getting more responses. Forty percent of planners have up to five RFPs sent per meeting, while another 34 percent have as many as 10 RFPs sent per meeting.

• 88 percent of planners expect food-and-beverage costs to rise even further than they did last year, with 27 percent of those planners expecting a rise in costs of more than 20 percent. Also, 80 percent of planners expect audiovisual and production costs to continue to rise in 2024, with 31 percent of those planners expecting cost hikes greater than 20 percent.

• Given these expected cost increases along with the probable rise in meeting attendance, 53 percent of planners are considering holding their meetings in a similar level of accommodations but in a secondary market rather than their top choice of destination. Another 39 percent are seeking to use properties at a lower chain scale and a secondary market, while 8.5 percent will seek to use a lower chain scale in the same markets they typically use.

One other interesting finding from the report: Planners see the greatest opportunities for artificial intelligence to benefit their events via integration with mobile apps and virtual assistants, and with the experience and engagement elements of meetings. These came out well ahead of planners’ view of A.I.’s potential for assisting with them in their daily planning tasks.

The full survey can be found here.



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