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Pain Point Number 1: Rising Costs

A recent survey takes the pulse of meeting planners, asking about budgets, contracts, airfares, virtual meetings, and more.

If higher costs are your challenge when executing events, one thing is for sure: You’re not alone. The latest meeting planner survey from Global Event Planners, the network of independent destination management companies, found that higher costs was a top challenge for 70 percent of the 200 planners surveyed.

While many planners are making do with static or shrinking meeting budgets, more than half the respondents (55 percent) report increases for meeting budgets from 2022 to 2023, and 45 percent have seen increases for incentive budgets. For most—88 percent—the reason for the budget increase is to tackle inflation and higher prices, as opposed to raising the number of meeting attendees, changing the meeting format, or other reasons.

After rising costs, finding availability and service levels/quality were the next two biggest headaches for planners when the Q4 Meetings & Events Pulse Survey was conducted November 10 through December 16, 2022.

Contracts: The survey asked planners about their number-one concern when negotiating a contract. With the pandemic barely in the rearview mirror, it’s no surprise that cancellation and rebooking terms was the big worry for almost half the planners (48 percent). That was followed by three perennial contract-negotiation issues: attrition (27 percent), concessions (15 percent), and payment terms (eight percent). Only two percent of respondents said force-majeure negotiations was their biggest concern.

Airfares: More than two out of three respondents to the survey say high airfares are affecting destination choices. The report shared planners’ strategies: “Some cited in their comments that their organizations or clients are choosing locations based on where the majority of their attendees are located, and/or locations that have other transportation methods for attendees (ex: train). Others commented that lack of routes/availability also affect the decision around chosen program destinations.”

Virtual meetings: The survey revealed that only 47 percent of respondents expected to run any virtual events in 2023 and beyond. And virtual events were generally a small percentage of those organizations' programs:

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GDP’s Meetings & Events Pulse Survey also includes insights on sustainability goals, destinations of interest, and hiring in the year ahead. Read the report here.  

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