An eventful 2024 for the MICE industry

BANGKOK – With organizations looking to capitalize on the power of face-to-face connection, 2024 is expected to be a year of deeper engagements and gainful exchanges, with an optimistic increase in the spate of small and large events likely to be planned across the business events’ industry.

Attendees and planners alike are looking forward to learning, socializing, and traveling. Amid challenges from inflation and staff shortages, the fervor to meet in person does not seem to ebb. Virtual and hybrid events will continue to play to their full potential through their advantage of enhancing reach and increasing event ROI.

Key meetings and events industry trends for 2024

Costs are expected to continue to rise. According to the 2023 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report for Asia, 80 percent of event planners expected costs to increase in 2024. Similar regional reports state the figures at 88 percent for Australia, 85 percent for MEA (the Middle East and Africa), and 80 percent for India. Planners are finding new and unique ways to meet these tight budget goals. They are looking at various partners such as destinations and hotels to increase their events’ value and return on experience.

In 2024, hybrid work won’t just mean splitting time between home and the office. People now work from the beach, city balconies, and mountain chalets, opening new revenue opportunities for hotels to accommodate hybrid work needs. American Express Global Business Travel and CULTIQUE found that 61 percent of travelers said they would like a policy that supports a mix of personal and work travel and allows extended stays and family members or significant others to join.

As artificial intelligence evolves, companies are leveraging it to offer better customer service to provide deeper customization that meets a buyer’s needs. With its predictive modeling analysis capabilities, AI can also help predict future demand, allowing venues to improve the planner and guest experience, win more business and increase revenue.

Environmental sustainability is essential in the planning and execution of meetings and events, and sustainable venues will better attract planners and win more business from companies also looking to reduce their environmental impact. According to the Expedia Sustainable Travel Study, 90 percent of consumers seek sustainable travel options currently. Areas of focus for hotels and venues should include energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction, and sourcing and purchasing ethically.

Staffing shortages are slowly improving, but a shifting workforce and increased demand are putting pressure on hotels and venues to rebuild planner relationships. Venues should be proactive about building and strengthening these connections, as open communication and greater transparency typically result in increased and repeat bookings.

Savvy hoteliers and event professionals will use technology to be more effective and productive. The right technology frees up more time for building meaningful relationships and clears up any confusion between parties. Event planners expect visual and interactive content – such as room diagrams and immersive floor plans – to help them make intelligent decisions. Virtual and augmented reality are thus becoming standard practices in online hotel profiles.

Author: Sandeep Nagpal,  currently vice president of marketing at Cvent. In his current role, he is responsible for managing Cvent’s international marketing & global demand center, located in Gurgaon, India.