Knowland Shares 2024 State of the Conferences Trade Outcomes

ARLINGTON, Virginia—Knowland and ConferenceDirect introduced the outcomes of their annual report, 2024 State of the Conferences Trade. The collaboration shares insights to assist trade professionals perceive what assembly planners and occasion managers count on and can prioritize in 2024.

Planners are optimistic about 2024, with nearly half anticipating to e book extra conferences than in 2023. However the strain is on to ship high-quality occasions and game-changing attendee experiences whereas staying inside finances. Rising prices mixed with much less skilled lodge employees are altering how and the place planners e book, leading to smaller occasions, a transfer to secondary markets, and modified experiences. Findings from the survey embrace:

  • Excessive value is a key problem for planners: Whereas planners are extra glad with the responsiveness of venues, pricing continues to be a difficulty with 47 % of planners. The rise in F&B and AV costs of as much as 50 % is a sport changer for occasion design and manufacturing. Resolution makers are leaning into their planners and intermediaries to assist find methods to do extra inside their budgets.
  • Secondary markets present a possibility for decrease costs and high-quality expertise: Organizers might take into account altering locations and venues to handle assembly prices. Teams usually tend to relocate occasions to various markets to keep up occasion high quality and keep away from transferring down in chain scale. This shift presents alternatives for secondary and tertiary markets to draw new enterprise by providing high quality merchandise, providers, and enticing pricing alternate options in contrast with the highest 25 market locations.
  • AI and sustainability are on the radar however not influencing technique: AI performs an growing function within the conferences trade. Planners see alternatives for AI in anticipated makes use of, resembling occasion cellular apps and digital assistants. But, there’s much less pleasure for AI in each day operations or game-changing digital purposes, not less than for now. And whereas sustainability is a top-of-mind concern, it has not but made it into the KPIs of assembly organizers.
  • Lodge responsiveness has improved, however staffing ranges and expertise proceed to have an effect on occasions: Satisfaction with lodge responsiveness is up 100% in comparison with final yr. Nonetheless, planners are nonetheless impacted by staffing and expertise ranges at accommodations. Lodge cluster gross sales fashions are cited as driving slower responses, and inexperience is inflicting longer contract intervals. Planners level out that the lack of expertise by each gross sales and operations employees causes them to work tougher.

Jeff Bzdawka, CEO, Knowland, stated, “Enhancements in staffing and expertise have enabled accommodations to reply quicker. Twice as many planners are glad with venue responsiveness in comparison with final yr; nevertheless, our trade is at the moment present process a reset, requiring an alignment of expectations with prices on either side. It’s clear from this yr’s survey that to unlock our progress potential, we have to work to use our ardour and resolve these challenges, collectively.”

Larry Hanson, CMO, ConferenceDirect, stated, “Planners are optimistic, with 42 % anticipating a rise in bookings this yr. In comparison with previous surveys, the 2024 report exhibits a definite and promising motion towards normalcy. Even nonetheless, hoteliers might want to stability the scales between profitability and repair requirements to encourage and re-build sustainable relationships with assembly planners.”

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