North America leads the way in resuming in-person meetings, says the American Express Global Meetings and Events Forecast of 500 industry professionals.
Results of the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, conducted by American Express Meetings & Events this summer, were announced at IMEX America by Gerardo Tejado, senior vice president, global value development and general manager, meetings & events at American Express Global Business Travel. The overall forecast for the return of in-person events was optimistic, with planners in North America most likely to have already scheduled 2022 on-site programs. However, according to the survey we will not see a return to the pre-pandemic normal. New trends are fueling the expected industry revival.
Prevue recently caught up with Tejado to get his thoughts on the survey’s most significant takeaways for planners and his insights on future trends. Some might surprise you.
Environmental practices have become de rigueur. 83% of respondents said their organizations take sustainability into account when planning meetings and events. Sustainability practices most cited by respondents include minimizing paper usage and applying energy-saving and waste reduction measures.
Hybrid and virtual events are here to stay. While 67% of survey responders expect their total number of meetings to return to 2019 levels within one to two years, virtual technology is now seen as a valuable enhancer to in-person meetings.
Internal team meetings—whether in-person, virtual or hybrid—are expected to account for almost half of all meetings in 2022. This reflects increasing recognition of their value to nurture and strengthen team cohesion, engagement and innovation within organizations.
Health and wellness, with a deeper focus on the individual needs of attendees, is an ongoing trend. Planner strategies are expected to include incorporating attendee wellness through agenda design, such as allowing sufficient breaks, and robust health and safety protocols for in-person meetings.
The explosion of tech options has fundamentally changed the meetings industry. The study found that planners are even more optimistic than last year about their ability to incorporate technology to enhance the meeting experience, with nearly three in four rating their ability to do so as an 8 or above, out of 10. The expectation is that planners will be looking at how technology can be used to improve wellbeing and engagement, enable better virtual and hybrid experiences, and connect attendees.