Meeting planning professionals are projecting favorable business conditions over the next year, with the majority (79 percent) overwhelming optimistic, according to the Fall 2021 Meetings Outlook from Meeting Professionals International. That number is significantly higher than results from last fall’s MPI poll, when just over half (58 percent) of respondents projected a positive future.
The latest results show a slight uptick in uncertainty compared with last summer — although the projections remain positive and are better than the survey conducted in spring 2021.
Other findings from the MPI survey include:
- Most respondents (92 percent) say they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, an eight point increase over the previous quarter.
- Nearly two thirds of respondents (64 percent) anticipate favorable live attendance over the next 12 months, a slightly lower percentage from the all-time high in last quarter’s survey.
- Respondents reported an increase in contract hiring (30 percent), slightly greater than the same for full-time (28 percent) and part-time (21 percent) positions.
The sustained positive outlook for overall business conditions encouraging, said Jessie States, vice president of MPI Academy. However, States cautions, while most meeting professionals predict improving conditions moving into 2022, a third (35 percent) don’t expect many businesses not to recover fully until 2023, and nearly a quarter (22 percent) say full recovery will not come until 2024.
Growth of in-person attendance is projected to outpace virtual attendance, said States. While that signals an eagerness amonth meeting professionals and their organizations to convene face-to-face, the objectives of meetings – and therefore design and execution – “continue to evolve due to the newish virtual landscape.”
The labor shortage is one of the industry’s biggest challenges, States said, a challenge shared by 51 percent of suppliers and 30 percent of event owners and organizers. How that struggle plays out, said States, “will continue to impact the delivery of in-person, hybrid and digital experiences.”