In-person meetings are back for Europe, hotels and hotel conference rooms are seeing a revival, and sustainability considerations are on the rise
Leading integrated travel, tourism and hospitality marketing agency MMGY Global exclusively reveals key industry insights in the latest Portrait of European Meeting and Convention Travel report. With key research conducted by the MMGY Travel Intelligence team who specialise in custom market research for the travel and tourism industry, the comprehensive study provides valuable findings on the MICE industry. The report – created in partnership with IMEX and MMGY Hills Balfour, sponsored by seven European National DMOs/CVBs – sheds light on the evolving landscape of European meetings and conventions, highlighting data and trends on meeting formats, meeting venues and locations, as well as measuring the impact of bleisure, economics, sustainability and well-being.
The report found that 2023 is proving itself as a “bumper year” for international M&C travel with figures already at 37% for those that would attend between 1–2 meetings outside of their home country this year, compared to 38% for the whole of 2022.
Cees Bosselaar, Managing Director of MMGY Travel Intelligence Europe, comments, “We are thrilled to be sharing the 2023 edition of our Portrait of European Meeting and Convention Travel study. This report will be vital in helping both professional planners, DMOs and the MICE industry generally to plan for the year ahead based on quantifiable results that show how people are interacting in the MICE space this year. It’s interesting to see that following the pandemic, in-person meetings are back, however, virtual and hybrid meetings – although less popular than before – are here to stay. It is also positive for the future of the industry that sustainability remains an increasing consideration”
Key findings from the 2023 Portrait of European Meeting and Convention Travel “Wave III” report include:
• Meeting Formats – Europe is going back to in-person meetings. For both planners and attendees, in-person meetings are preferential, with 70% of planners arranging solely in-person meetings and events within the next two years. In addition, 70% of participants rate in-person meetings as the most effective meeting model over hybrid and virtual-only events. However, it is predicted that virtual and hybrid meetings may increase in popularity again over the next two years.
• Meeting Venues and Locations – Germany claims the top spot for past and future meetings in Europe for both event planners and attendees. The United States is the top choice for meetings outside of Europe. Hotels and hotel conference rooms are seeing a revival, with this trend led by the U.K. and Germany, and sports venues are on the rise thanks to the U.K. market. Additionally, cost remains the most important factor for deciding the location of meetings with a staggering 72% importance, closely followed by logistics of the venue size and it being an easily accessible location.
• “Bleisure” – Sixty percent of attendees are likely to extend a business trip for leisure purposes in the next year, with almost half extending both domestic and international trips for leisure – up from 2022 – and two-thirds inviting their spouse or partner on extended business trips. The likelihood to extend a trip for leisure decreases with age, with those aged 65-plus the least likely.
• Economic Impact – Accommodation, airfares and fee increases are key concerns for planners in the MICE industry in 2023 and beyond – unsurprisingly in the current climate – with COVID-19 risks being deemed “a thing of the past.” Additionally, accessibility and safety are the most important factors for planners to consider. Rising costs are also the key concern for attendees in 2023, with three-fourths claiming that increasing airfares will result in less travel.
• Planning Decisions – The top factors affecting decisions to plan a meeting or event in the next two years include the general appeal of the destination, ease of getting to the host destination and the travel distance to the meeting venue.
• Sustainability – Demand for sustainable meetings continues to grow as attendees are increasingly recognising its importance, with 50% of planners being asked to select venues that meet certain sustainability goals. Nearly one-fourth of planners are partaking or subscribing to sustainability initiatives, whilst two-thirds of attendees are willing to pay more towards funding environmental and sustainable meeting programmes. Interestingly, one-third of respondents would also like their place of work to request less travel for business.
• Well-Being – More than one-third of planners report a rise in well-being enquiries, with exercise and locally sourced food of high importance. For attendees, 42% claim that well-being and “time-out” options would have an impact on their final decision to attend a meeting or event. Other factors taken into consideration are quiet spaces and opportunities for recreational activities such as yoga, spa treatments and walking.
For more information or to purchase a copy of the 2023 Portrait of European Meeting and Convention Travel “Wave III” report, visit: mmgyintel.com.
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