• October 24, 2023

Internal meetings & AI to accelerate industry growth – Amex report

Internal meetings & AI to accelerate industry growth – Amex report

Internal meetings & AI to accelerate industry growth – Amex report 1024 683 micebook.

2024 will be a dynamic year for the global events industry, with budgets and attendee numbers forecast to rise and technology adoption expected to accelerate dramatically, according to a new report by American Express GBT Meetings & Events.

The 13th Annual Global Meetings and Events Forecast surveyed more than 500 meetings and events professionals from around the world, with additional commentary from industry leaders.

Meetings professionals expect internal meetings to see the strongest growth of all meeting types, with 48% of respondents predicting more attendees next year as organisations seek to build relationships and connect their distributed workforces.

Key highlights from the 2024 Forecast include:

  • 67% of respondents say corporate meetings and events budgets are increasing
  • 82% are optimistic about the health of the industry (up from 77% last year)
  • 28% say programmes have already met or exceeded pre-pandemic attendee levels and 42% expect to reach that goal in 2024.
  • 72% of meeting planners expect lead times in 2024 to be the same or shorter.
  • Only 25% said they were likely or very likely to look for a job within the next year; of those, more than 65% plan to stay in the same industry – further evidence that meeting professionals remain bullish about the future of the industry.

Distributed Workforce Models Accelerate Internal In-Person Meetings

Most respondents said meetings and events next year would be either entirely in-person (59%) or hybrid (20%) – with the remaining 21% virtual. With many organisations embracing hybrid and remote working models, the role of meetings and events in bringing distributed teams together is amplified and the value of face-to-face interactions continues to grow.

Internal meetings and customer advisory boards are on track to see the biggest increase, with 42% of respondents saying there will be more of both types of meetings next year, followed by incentives (38%), small and simple meetings, product launches, and senior leadership meetings (37% each), conferences with trade shows (35%), and conferences without trade shows (30%).

According to Amex GBT’s Hotel Monitor 2024, hotel rates will likely continue to rise in most locations globally during 2024, and meetings and events are expected to replace the diminishing demand of leisure travel.

Technology is Bridging the Gap

Technology is expected to make major changes in the way meeting professionals do their jobs, including destination research, event communication, and registration automation. Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly used for personalised attendee communications; 42% of respondents say they expect to use AI in 2024. Mobile apps continue to be a staple in meetings and events, with a predicted usage rate of over 60%. Meeting professionals are also continuing to experiment with virtual reality technologies, with 41% of respondents expecting to use it next year.

Sustainability Adoption Still Continues to Rise

Most meeting professionals (78%) said their organisations would have net zero goals by the end of 2024. However, that doesn’t happen without a few challenges noted from respondents, including identifying certified suppliers (39%), budget (35%), measuring impact and post event CO2 calculation (32%), finding locations with minimal travel (28%), and lack of skills/resources/knowledge (23%).

GLOBAL VIEW: The Regional Outlook

European meeting professionals expect modest increases in activity next year compared to respondents in North America and Latin America. Internal meetings will continue to play an important role in European meeting programs. Respondents said 52% would be held at a hotel, 48% will require overnight accommodations, and 46% will be held in a different city than the corporate office. Perhaps not surprisingly, the region has the lowest percentage of expected domestic air travel for attendees, at 33%.

North America
Meeting professionals in North America say they are heading into the next year feeling busy, engaged, and excited about new technologies. They believe their profession is in good shape: 84% said they would rank themselves as 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10 when asked how optimistic they were about the health of the industry. 77% of respondents say attendee numbers have already returned to 2019 levels or will do so in 2024. The factors most likely to impact attendee numbers are cost, and health and safety concerns.

Asia Pacific
Compared to other regions, Asia Pacific is leading the way with organisations that have already set corporate net zero goals – at 63%. Some 67% of respondents in Asia Pacific say that sustainability has been strongly adopted in their meetings programs; 74% say sustainability is very or extremely important for their organisation.

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