Meeting planners expect face-to-face events to dominate 2022, with in-person gatherings accounting for approximately 80 percent of all meetings next year, according to a newly-released poll.
The report, entitled 2021 Planner Survey: The State of the Meetings Industry, was released by Knowland, a data analytics company for the meetings industry, and ConferenceDirect, a full-service meetings solutions provider.
The survey found nearly half of meeting planners (48 percent) expect to have the same number of events in 2022 as in 2019. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) already have meetings booked in the fourth quarter of 2021, and more than half (60 percent) do not expect to cancel or postpone meetings in 2022.
The results of this survey reflect similar findings in a recent poll of meeting planners from Meeting Professionals International. According to MPI’s Fall 2021 Meetings Outlook, the majority of respondents (79 percent) are overwhelming optimistic.
Still, the MPI research was slightly more cautious about the speed of recovery in face-to-face events, with nearly two thirds of respondents (64 percent) anticipate favorable live attendance over the next 12 months.
Nevertheless, according to Kristi White, Knowland’s chief product officer, her company’s data continues to indicate that in-person meetings are coming back. While these events may not look the same thanks to new processes and social protocols, she said, the industry can expect a pre-pandemic level of bookings soon.
Meeting planners remain concerned about constrained budgets and the impact of staff shortages on servicing their meetings, said Larry Hanson, chief marketing officer, ConferenceDirect. But, he added, they have continued to evolve and redefine what is possible with events through the latest digital technologies.