More in-person connections to happen in 2023: AMEX GBT

Corporate meetings and events budgets are set to increase in 2023

Meeting professionals expect in-person events and budgets to increase in 2023, according to the 12th annual Global Meetings & Events Forecast, produced by American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT).

The 2023 Global Meetings & Events Forecast is based on a survey of 580 meetings and events (M&E) professionals across the value chain in 23 countries, as well as interviews with industry leaders.

Corporate meetings and events budgets are set to increase in 2023

Key findings from the report include:

• 77% of respondents are optimistic about the health of the industry heading into 2023 
(rating eight or above out of 10) – a six-point increase compared to last year’s survey.
• 67% said they believe the number of in-person events will return to pre-pandemic levels within 
one or two years, with internal and smaller meetings already exceeding 2019 levels in some regions.
• Budgets: 65% said that overall M&E spend is increasing for 2023.

Strong growth of in-person events
Internal meetings continue to be a higher priority than they were pre-pandemic, as organisations see face-to-face interactions as key to improving productivity, connecting teams, reducing turnover and attracting top talent.

Survey respondents anticipate that in-person meetings and the number of event attendees will increase across the board, with 87% of meetings expected to have an in-person component. Moreover, only 32% of internal meetings are expected to be held on the corporate’s property, with 40% being held in a different city from the office, and 45% including overnight accommodation for attendees. After two years of remote and hybrid arrangements, respondents also expressed growing virtual fatigue.

For meeting professionals in the Asia Pacific region, over half (53%) of respondents say that macroeconomic changes are a top factor that influences an overall change in meeting spend at their organisation, more so than other regions.

Furthermore, they fall behind other regions in expecting in-person attendee numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels in the near future (61%). This is likely due to the region easing Covid-19 restrictions later than other regions.

Overall, a strong majority expect in-person M&E activity to be their main focus next year, with only 29% of respondents in North America and 33% in Europe expecting an increase in hybrid meetings.

Commitment to sustainability
Sustainability also continues to be a priority for most M&E programmes in 2023. Four in five respondents (80%) say their organisation takes sustainability into account when planning events.

Of those who say their organisation takes sustainability into account, 76% say their organisation has a defined sustainable meetings program strategy. Impactful practices cited include minimizing paper usage (22%), energy-saving and waste-reduction measures (19%) and booking green suppliers (18%).

Respondents in the Asia-Pacific region were more likely to incorporate sustainability into their meeting and events planning (86%) and 83% say they have a defined sustainable meeting programme strategy for 2023.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts
Incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) into meetings and events was also a top priority for meeting professionals. Nearly nine in ten (87%) respondents say their organisation or client actively strive to incorporate DE&I in their M&E programmes. These respondents say the top two ways they do this are by using diverse and minority-owned suppliers (29%) and by providing an option to attend the event virtually (28%).

“This Forecast reflects a renewed understanding of the value of meetings and events, and the critical role they play in building company culture and driving business,” said Gerardo Tejado, general manager, American Express Meetings & Events. “The report also finds an industry taking lessons learned during the last few years to bring positive change, including in areas such as technology, well-being, sustainability and inclusivity.”

Sponsored Post