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MPI’s Winter 2023 Meetings Outlook Reports Positive Expectations for the Trade Show and Events Industry in the Upcoming Year

cover page of MPI's Winter 2023 Meetings Outlook report

CHICAGO — Meeting Professionals International (MPI) published its Winter 2023 Meetings Outlook, which reports growing demand for face-to-face events and other positive signs for the trade show and events industry that signal its strong return. 

The quarterly report that focuses on the new trends and innovations found that business projections are positive, with 85% of respondents anticipating a favorable landscape for the next year, and 37% project business conditions will be more than 10% better. Another optimistic finding is that 49% of respondents reported an increase in full-time hiring, which signals that job vacancies are being filled. 

Expectations for in-person attendance are high, with 82% of respondents expecting favorable attendance changes and decreases in virtual attendance projections. This finding is aligned with Trade Show Executive’s data on the Fastest 50 honorees of 2022, which as a group grew by an average of 88.2% in total attendance using a same-show comparison over 2021.  

“The general view from industry professionals is definitely optimistic,” Michael Pinchera, Managing Editor of MPI, said. “To the question ‘What is your organization’s expectation for meeting and event business conditions over the next 12 months,’ 85% of respondents predicted a favorable landscape in this latest report. One consideration when thinking about the high-positive results to this question is to recall the extent to which the industry was impacted earlier in the pandemic. ‘There’s nowhere to go but up’ comes to mind because in-person events essentially vanished, and recovery is still taking place. For comparison, in the fall of 2019, only 45% of respondents indicated “favorable” conditions for the next year.” 

Related. Business Events Industry Week Demonstrates Power of the Events Industry 

When it comes to DEI, 65% of respondents believe the meeting and event industry is inclusive and welcomes diversity, and 71% said “diversity and inclusion are priorities for my organization.” However, 68% said that the industry needs better training and tools on DEI. 

Despite the Outlook’s positive findings in many areas, there remain issues with staffing and service, with 58% of respondents saying they find it difficult to acquire suitable staff. While that percentage is down from previous quarters, survey comments reveal that staffing shortages and lower levels of service and skills of staff are being observed as the event and hospitality industries recover from the exodus of professionals during the height of the pandemic. 

“The key takeaway is that we’re seeing continued optimism across numerous data points indicating that a stable, healthy recovery is still taking place,” Pinchera said. “One of the pieces that I do think is important and promising relates to when respondents anticipate their business returning to pre-pandemic levels. One-third of respondents say their business is already back to pre-pandemic levels, while 32% anticipate achieving that by the end of this year. If that holds true, that’ll mean “normal business” will have returned for two-thirds of our community. The precise reality of the near future is not certain, but meeting professionals are successfully navigating this new landscape with an optimistic outlook to build back better.” 

Reach Michael Pinchera at 

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