Survey: Key Meeting Metrics on the Rise

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Key meeting metrics, from attendance to the number of events being planned to investment in meeting organizer teams, all are on the upswing, according to a new survey.

Key meeting metrics are on the rise, according to a new survey of 4,000 meeting professionals and attendees conducted by Bizzabo in June. So, what specifically is on the upswing? Among the key meeting metrics included in the study were attendance — which increased for more than half (52%) of event organizers, in a nice turnaround from the post-pandemic trend of still-anemic attendance for many. When they compared their most recent conference to those held in the past, around 62% reported a growth in registration, 57% said attendance was up, as were revenues (62%) and overall participant satisfaction (63%). The number of events planned for next year, compared to this, also were either the same or increased for a whopping 86% or event organizers, the survey found.

Another key post-pandemic meeting headache for many is a lack of staff to handle the restart of their meetings and events programs. This appears to be another key meeting metric that’s turning the corner: almost half (47%) of event organizers reported their team had grown over the past year, while almost 24% said that they had kept the status quo, staff-wise. In fact, the number of event organizers with teams of at least 10 employees has tripled to almost 31% from the 10% who said the same in 2020.

The reason for all this growth in many of the key meeting metrics may be based in the fact that events are critical to an organization’s overall success, something more than three-quarters of event organizers surveyed said. And 80% said events were their organization’s most impactful marketing channel, up from 72% in a 2022 Bizzabo study. This is born out by the almost 70% of the attendees who were surveyed saying that they find B2B conferences to be the best way to learn about new products and services — and almost 78% said in-person events provided the best networking environment.

key meeting metrics
Even with the big bounce-back in all these key meeting metrics for in-person events, hybrid is still a thing. In fact, almost half of event organizers said they were streaming in-person sessions. Another third said they were hosting virtual events along with their in-person conferences.

While proving that return on investment in events is still a challenge for 71%, a similar percentage, 72%, said their C-suite nonetheless actively support their in-person event strategies — which may account for the funding now being made available to beef up event department staffing this year. And more than three-quarters of event organizers said they think in-person conferences will only continue to grow in importance to their organization’s success in the future.

Of course, pain points still exist, even with all this good news. Marketing budgets, so key to drawing those increases in attendance, are a top concern for event planners, who put it at the top of their budget allocations, even ahead of catering and venue costs. This is also is a challenge internally — event organizers said integrating events into their organization’s overall marketing plan was their number-one challenge. As one respondent said, “Passive metrics like session attendance and survey methodologies haven’t kept up with the complexity and sophistication of the kinds of questions our marketing teams are asking when determining ROI.”

Venue selection also was among the top three major pain points for organizers, which is not surprising since almost 65% said that is one factor that can make or break an experience — and a similar percentage of attendees agreed. Among the issues planners say they struggle with are timely proposals and executive alignment.

But these challenges don’t appear to be overly daunting, especially with the increases in other key meeting metrics that indicate a growing understanding of the value in-person events bring to event organizers and attendees.

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