Happy 2022, Meeting Planners! I consulted with my crystal ball (aka Google) and traveled to the ends of the internet to find information to help you navigate this new year.
Here is what you need to know:
Compression is a word being tossed about as a way to explain what is happening in meeting space negotiations. The meetings booked for 2022 are not cancelling, while meetings that were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 are looking for a place to stay. We all know how higher demand relates to rate increases – so be prepared. I highly recommend having a top negotiator in your corner!
Virtual is not going away. Yes, we love in person meetings and we miss them, but an MMGY study shares that up to 30% of meeting attendees are more interested in participating virtually. Hybrid provides the best of both worlds.
Speaking of virtual, consider viewing your events in a different light. While corporate events were once a revenue source, now they’ve become a dynamic way to market and create PR buzz and lead generation. Consider that the sky’s the limit on the number of attendees for an online event. Ticket costs can now be greatly reduced, if not free. Your brand and your sponsors stand to gain a lot more exposure. Be sure to capture the contact information from attendees for use in marketing campaigns before, after and in between events.
For live events, safety remains high on the list of concerns. You may be able to require masks for attendees based on the venue’s state law, and it is acceptable to allow presenters to take their masks off when presenting. Be sure to space out the seating area. Keep any audio equipment, like microphones, clean and sanitized between presenters. Meals should be pre-packaged. Be in communication with the venue to ensure that you do not run into any unexpected surprises – ask a lot of questions! Without such protocols in place, you may face low attendance rates.
An issue that planners are bumping up against is inflexibility when it comes to venue contracts. This may stem from space limitations, low staffing and the rising costs of goods. It’s a tough market right now. Get the support you need – I have a person in mind that could be of great help to you, just reach out.
This year is sure to have its own set of challenges. One thing I know for sure is that meeting planners will continue to move forward, and create new programs and solutions to meet the needs of the marketplace! Way to go!