IACC venues’ 2023 business events revenue to surpass 2019 figures
Two-thirds of venues say they will recover to 2019 meeting revenue levels in 2022 or 2023, according to international venue association (IACC’s) annual Meeting Room of the Future Barometer 2022.
Respondents globally reported that 2023 would be the first year to surpass 2019 meetings and business events revenue levels. Predictions differed by country, with projected revenues in Denmark to surpass 2019 levels as early as 2022 while the Americas had a slightly longer outlook with revenues not returning to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
The study, supported by IACC’s partners Encore Global, Benchmark Hospitality, Flik Hospitality Group/Rapport and Aramark Conferencing, shows that in 2021, average meeting and business events revenue was 45% lower than 2019 levels, but, in 2022, this percentage is expected to shrink to just 8% below 2019 levels.
Sustainability continues to be an emerging topic, the Barometer finds, with improvements made since the 2021 report. The report shows that, in general, there is more of a focus on environmental and social responsibility at venues in Europe and Australia when compared with North American venues. Around 46% of respondents to this year’s survey reported that they are receiving increased requests from clients to either state or provide social responsibility and environmental credentials.
It seems donating unused food to local community outreach programmes has proved a popular contribution, with more than one-half of responding venues reporting this option compared with only 23% of venues in 2020.
In-person vs virtual
The study further supports the gradual return to meetings weighted towards more in-person interactions. In 2021, 30% of respondents reported that more than 90% of their live meetings and events also offered virtual access. In 2022 this percentage has dropped to 19%. This is corroborated by IACC’s report, The Future of the Meeting Industry, from February 2022, which showed that the value of human interaction is ranked the highest of seven factors when considering attending an in-person meeting, above expanding your network, scheduling and cost of attending. Collaboration with colleagues is also highly ranked.
The Barometer notes that the meetings industry has not been immune to the challenges of attracting and retaining workers. The study predicts that talent shortages will be alleviated over time. As 2022 unfolds, 55% of respondents report that their venue has or will return to full-staffing levels by the end of 2022.
Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC, commented: “The study clearly points to the fact that recovery is moving forward, and the future looks bright for our industry, with a renewed value placed on face-to-face events. However, we still face a number of challenges. Recent social and geo-political events have brought into sharp focus the need to focus on sustainability and the report shows that this is an area where there is significant scope for investment and improvement and which IACC venues must focus on going forward.
The survey ran over a three-week period in March 2022 with 87 venue operators from three continents (Americas, Europe and Australia) taking part in the study.
Download the full report here.