In conjunction with ConferenceDirect, Knowland released an annual survey that reveals key insights from meeting planners. The survey was designed to help industry professionals understand the current state of recovery from the meeting and event managers’ perspectives, including what they expect and plan to prioritize as the industry accelerates towards recovery in 2022.
Despite the drastic changes in the meetings and events business during the past 18 months, people across industries and geographies all agree that everyone is ready to return to face-to-face meetings.
While hoteliers welcome the uptick in business, they also face various challenges. These include uncertain budgets, the ability to respond to short booking windows, and staff shortages at hotels/venues causing lower service levels. Regardless of these challenges, meetings are moving forward. In fact, respondents expect in-person meetings to dominate 2022 with approximately 80% of events to be face-to-face.
When it comes to getting back to in-person meetings, planners have specific expectations for the venues and their sales teams.
What Meeting Planners Want from Hotels/Venues
- Respond in a timely manner to requests: during the pandemic, planners have found it difficult to get hotel sales people to respond to their calls quickly. And because of the shorter booking windows we are experiencing for meetings today, if planners can’t get hold of a property, they will just move on to the next one.
- Staff to pre-COVID service levels: as face-to-face meetings return, quality of service expectations will be as high as ever. Planners will not be willing to compromise on quality of service even though there may be new gathering protocols in place.
- Offer terms that flex with the pandemic status: we don’t know what we don’t know. Planners and hotels/venues need to work together to give protection to both sides of the agreement, accommodating for unforeseen changes in market conditions that may affect aspects of the contract. Both side need to be committed to a positive outcome.
Knowland’s data continues to indicate that in-person meetings are coming back. While these events may not look the same thanks to new processes and social protocols, we can expect a pre-pandemic level of bookings soon. In fact, meeting volume in the U.S. has multiple consecutive months of strong double-digit growth. To that end, hoteliers should look to prioritize sales staffing and training efforts to enable them to handle the coming demand.
Highlights from the 2021 Meeting Planner Survey
- 65 percent of meeting planner respondents have meetings booked in the 4th quarter of 2021.
- 60 percent of planners do not expect to cancel or postpone meetings in 2022.
- 48 percent of planners expect to have the same number of events in 2022 as in 2019.
If you haven’t started booking meetings yet, now is the time to get your sales teams back in the saddle and provide them with the tools they need to help them be better informed and more confident in their outreach. At Knowland, we provide the tools you need to do just that!
To download the 2021 Meeting Planner Survey: The State of the Meetings Industry, click here.
If you want to learn more about how to serve meeting planners and increase meetings & events revenue, schedule time with a Knowland expert today.