MPI’s Meetings Outlook for Q1 2024 + a Preview of WEC 2024

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MPI has released its 2024 Q1 Meetings Outlook and the forecast is sunny…with a chance of challenges.

Though live events are on the rise and hiring difficulties have improved, cost increases and service-quality issues were cited as the main challenges facing planners in a resurging industry.

As planners noted in the report, clients are scrutinizing every penny, delaying signing on the dotted line—and further shortening already shorter lead times—as they contemplate menu downgrades and skimping on entertainment, a frugality prompted by rising costs in general and global political uncertainty.

Still, the industry professionals surveyed for the report were feeling positive in general about in-person events, with 70 percent anticipating favorable conditions for the business year ahead.

Here’s a quick look at the main trends and forecasts from MPI’s report:

  • Hiring challenges improving—While 46 perent of respondents say it’s still difficult to fill job vacancies, 2024 Q1 is the third consecutive quarter in which that percentage has decreased.
  • Costs still being cut—The top areas where planners have made major cuts include entertainment, promotional products, destination/hotel/venue choice and contractors. Suppliers report similar cuts but also are trimming FAMs, advertising/marketing and AV.
  • Live attendance forecasts up—76 percent of respondents expect favorable event attendance during the next year, up six percent since last quarter.
  • Service ratings different for planners & suppliers—Compared to 2022, less than half of planners reported better service from convention centers, restaurants and transportation; in the category of hotels, more than 40 percent of planners reported worse service. Supplier service ratings were more favorable for convention centers and other venues, though they decreased for hotels, AV, catered F&B and restaurants.

Meetings Professionals International (MPI) is the leading global meeting and event community association. Meetings Outlook is developed in partnership with IMEX Group. The full report can be found here.

MPI’s WEC Louisville Set to Start Next Week

MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC) is out of the gate on Monday, May 20 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville (or Luh-val).

The 3-day international event blends networking, education, and prime keynote speeches into a must-attend for 2,000 planners this year who will choose from 70+ sessions, covering an enormous range of topics including career coaching, community connection and inclusivity.

The session themes alone are amazingly thought provoking, from Artificial Intelligence 101: Navigating AI Integration in Event Planning and Speakers with Disabilities Say it Best! to The 3T Advantage: Exclusive Experiences in Third-Tier Cities and “OK, Zoomer!” The Battle Between Baby Boomers and Gen Z.

Then there’s the popular WEC Marketplace, featuring customized activations and interactive experiences; and the Hosted Buyers Program, bringing both sides of the meeting and event market together to transact face-to-face business.

Can’t make it to Kentucky? The WEC Digital Experience offers access to live-streamed content hosted by Amani Roberts.

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