In-person return boosts business for more than half of planners

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Dark conference room Photo Credit: Terran Hurst on Unsplash

More than half of planners have seen a noticeable improvement in business performance since returning to face-to-face meetings, according to a new survey.

The fifth annual etc.venues survey reveals that 54 per cent of planners saw an upturn in business following the return to in-person events.

And almost 99 per cent of planners value in-person meetings more than or the same as before the pandemic, up from 82 per cent a year ago and a 22 per cent increase from the start of the pandemic.

One respondent said: “After being forced online for so long, we have definitely seen our busiest year of face-to-face events with people desperate to be in the room. I think that people really realised how important physical meetings are.”

The results indicate that the impact of a dispersed workforce has changed the way in which meetings agendas are constructed, with 65 per cent of event planners arranging more one-day meetings than previously. Of these, 38 per cent said it is to make better use of people’s time, 32 per cent are doing to so to reduce costs and 30 per cent says it’s to help the work-life balance of delegates.

One respondent added: “It has been lovely being face-to-face again after such a long time, however I believe it will not become as frequent as it once was as work-life balance has become so much more important since the pandemic.”

The survey also showed that 27 per cent of respondents are looking at holding more in-person meetings than before the pandemic, with 36 per cent keeping the number the same as before.

Sustainability commitment

When asked how committed the meetings industry is to sustainability, the answer was inconclusive, suggesting planners don’t yet see a comprehensive approach to sustainability

“Everyone is talking about it, but no one is doing anything except planting a few trees here and there,” said one respondent.

Only 7 per cent of event planners thought the industry is not really committed but only 5 per cent thought it is strongly engaged. Similarly, while 44 per cent thought that organisations are taking action but not very committed, 45 per cent think that the industry is fairly committed to action.

There were 423 respondents and the research was done in December 2022.

Adam Simpson, director of marketing for etc.venues, said: “It’s great to see that business performance is improving as in-person meetings return and that face-to face meetings are now universally valued. Confidence in the industry is back.”

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