MPI Report Shows Optimism for 2022 In-Person Shows and Growing Budgets, Along With Challenges

February 25, 2022

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) recently published the 2022 edition of its Winter Meetings Outlook, revealing signs of positivity for the industry’s full recovery as well as complications expected as a result of societal shifts that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The future-focused quarterly outlook identifies trends and innovations, allowing event professionals to budget and plan accordingly and ensuring a strong foundation for building sound strategies that keep businesses on the path to success.

According to the report, a balancing market reveals signs of positive things to come, such as growing budgets and anticipated in-person attendance. However, complications such as the changing desires of people emerging from various degrees of pandemic lockdown as well as a lack of qualified staff/applicants in many meeting and hospitality roles continues to challenge industry professionals.

Following are key insights from the report:

  • The “great resignation” continues to impact the meeting and event industry, with 60% of respondents indicating difficulty finding suitable staff, more than double the percentage of respondents who said the same last summer.
  • 82% of respondents project favorable business conditions over the next year, back up to the level seen in the spring 2021 survey.
  • More than 50% of respondents currently or soon plan on requiring proof of vaccination for staff, contractors and in-person event participants.
  • 75% of respondents anticipate favorable in-person attendance over the next 12 months, almost matching the all-time high seen in the summer 2021 survey.
  • 50% of respondents indicate that events are shorter in duration than before the pandemic.
  • 33% of respondents anticipate business returning to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, while 42% of respondents don’t anticipate a return to “normal” amounts of business until sometime in 2023.

“Following an Omicron-fueled dip in positive projections last quarter, our most recent Meetings Outlook demonstrates positive indicators in a number of areas including increasing optimism in projected in-person attendance and budget," said Jessie States, vice president of MPI Academy. “Fewer meeting professionals are expecting increases in digital or virtual attendance (down 41% since this time last year).”

Unpredictability continues to impact the buyer-seller balance in the marketplace, according to States.

“The biggest challenge continues to be employment, with 37.5% of organizations reporting that they are hiring full-time staff and 60% saying they are having problems filling roles,” she said. “The implications of this are steep for an industry anticipating recovery—and an MPI focus this year will be helping organizations create and cultivate workplace cultures that attract and retain critical staff.”

Meetings Outlook, developed in partnership with IMEX Group, presents future industry trends and predictions from MPI members. Research is conducted in house using the Qualtrics survey platform. The research is done quarterly and provides current business conditions and future outlooks.

The full MPI Winter Meetings Outlook 2022 can be found here.

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