Market To Market: On The Agenda
We’re all feeling it. From roundtables and offsites to seminars and summits, businesses are booking more meetings than ever.
Since the start of the pandemic, people have attended 13% more meetings, with the number of attendees up by 14% compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to a Harvard Business School study of 3 million people.
In the United States, teams hold about 55 million meetings each week, according to Zippia. This amounts to about 11 million per day and over 1 billion per year. The average worker spends at least three hours a week in meetings, with about 30% spending over five hours per week in meetings.
People are also meeting at conventions, with about 1.3 million people traveling for conventions and other business meetings every day in the U.S. Most of them are attending events close to home, traveling less than 250 miles. Only 7% of trips involve traveling further than 1,000 miles, according to Stratos Jets, a jet charter service.
However teams communicate and learn, meetings will continue to evolve and expand. According to Knowland’s U.S. Meetings Recovery Forecast, the meetings and conventions industry will have recovered 58.3% of meetings volume by the end of this year, and by 2023, individual months are projected to recover to 2019 levels. Allied Market Research projects the global events industry (which includes meetings and conventions) to grow 11% annually from 2021 to 2028. By 2028, this industry could reach $1.5 trillion.
When it comes to connecting with colleagues and clients, many professionals crave the in-person experience. One survey from PromoLeaf revealed that more than 70% of professionals prefer to attend meetings and events in person over the virtual versions. They say the best networking happens face to face and that body language is difficult to discern over video.
Whether meetings and conventions happen online, offline or using a mix of the two, promotional products can help businesses boost engagement, drive home messaging and build valuable connections. When people can feel and hold a product in their hands, you can help boost an event’s ROE, or return on emotion. According to Harvard professors, 95% of purchasing decisions are based on emotions and not logic. The more gratified people feel attending a meeting or convention, the more success businesses can see.
Read on for trends in meetings and conventions, and for some promotional ideas to create meaningful experiences.
Hybrid events are here to stay. More than three-quarters (77%) of meeting planners say they intend to offer hybrid events in the future, with another 10% saying they are considering them, according to the 2022 Meetings Today Trends Survey.
These types of meetings and conventions accommodate attendees who value face-to-face interactions and those who prefer to participate remotely. Promotional products can be part of both experiences, whether attendees get logoed products at in-person seminars, or they receive them right at their doorstep.
Micro events—smaller, more intimate gatherings—have also emerged as a trend in the meetings and conventions market. Businesses find these meetings appealing because they cover just a couple important topics over an hour or two. Attendees like these meetings because they can better understand what they heard rather than processing a full day’s worth of information. From custom notebooks and journals to logoed pens and laptop bags, brands can use promotional items to make a big impact at small events.
These cities draw more meetings and conventions than anywhere else in the country:
- Orlando, Florida
- Las Vegas
- San Diego
- New York
- Nashville, Tennessee
Here are the safety protocols that meeting planners are implementing this year:
- Requiring masks: 32%
- Requiring proof of vaccinations: 43%
- Requiring proof of negative COVID-19 test: 58%
- Requiring onsite attendee temperature checks: 33%
- Eliminating or reducing networking/social events: 19%
- Moving to drive-to/regional meetings: 24%
- Splitting meetings into smaller sizes: 30%
- Offering hybrid meeting components: 16%
Source: 2022 Meetings Today Trends Survey
Here’s a rundown of the nation’s 10 largest convention centers in terms of exhibit space:
- McCormick Place, Chicago: 2.6 million square feet of space
- Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida: 2 million square feet of space
- Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas: 1.9 million square feet of space
- Georgia World Congress Center Authority, Atlanta: 1.5 million square feet of space
- Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas: 1.2 million square feet of space
- Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky: 1.1 million square feet of space
- New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, Louisiana: 1.1 million square feet of space
- NRG Park, Houston: 1 million square feet of space
- Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas: 1 million square feet of space
- Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California: 1 million square feet of space
Source: Travel Tomorrow
Internal meetings should be about 15 minutes. Zippia points out research that shows that 91% of attendees pay attention in 15-minute meetings. People start zoning out as the minutes tick on, with only 64% still paying attention in meetings over 45 minutes.
Businesses that plan meetings and conventions need participants to actively engage in conversations and relationship-building. However, 40% of event organizers say engaging audiences is their biggest challenge. Want to get people talking? Work promotional products into seminars, breakout sessions and luncheons.
Source: 2022 Event Trends Report: The Show Goes On
A Forbes survey found that most executives (84%) say they prefer in-person meetings for their ability to build stronger and more meaningful business relationships.
When professionals head to meetings, they’re most often going to:
- Internal team meetings or trainings: 17%
- Small or simple meetings: 16%
- Client meetings: 15%
- Senior leadership meetings or board meetings: 14%
- Product launches: 14%
- Conferences or trade shows: 12%
- Incentive or special event meetings: 12%
Source: American Express Meetings and Events
Meeting planners say these concerns rise to the top this year:
- Increasing costs: 44%
- Security/implementing COVID precautions: 43%
- Declining attendance: 31%
- Attrition/room-block issues: 26%
- More transportation difficulties: 13%
- Lower budget: 12%
- Learning/using new technology: 7%
- Other: 4%
Source: 2022 Meetings Today Trends Survey
You may hear a few well-worn statements at in-person meetings (“I’m going to give you 10 minutes of your life back”), but these comments from virtual meetings are among the cringiest:
- “I need to jump on another call.”
- “We lost you for a minute there.”
- “Do we have everyone here?”
- “Can you see my screen?”
- “Can everyone mute themselves please?”
- “Let’s take this offline.”
- “Conscious there’s only X minutes left."
- “I’m getting really bad feedback.”
- “I’ve got a hard stop at X o’clock.”
Source: Easy Offices survey
More than half of remote workers (55%) think most meetings shouldn’t have been scheduled in the first place. About 65% of employees agree that meetings keep them from completing their work, and 45% feel overwhelmed by the number of meetings they must attend. Promotional campaigns can help communicate messages without taking up employees’ valuable time.
When convention attendees mix and mingle at after-hours events, the 4-in-1 Drink Cooler makes a fun takeaway. This cooler fits 12-ounce cans, skinny cans and most glass bottles. It also doubles as an insulated drinking cup.
The Allen Company / PPAI 113879, S5 / www.allenmugs.com
Companies can make an impact with the Featherlite™ Tablet Sleeve, which features full-color decoration, a sturdy but soft construction and reinforced edges. An easy-slip-in design allows recipients to quickly and securely store a tablet.
Toddy Gear / PPAI 516677, S6 / www.toddygear.com
With its gel ink and soft-touch rubberized finish, the Islander Softy Brights Gel Pen makes note-taking a breeze during meetings. This vibrant cap-off pen features a colorful stylus that matches the barrel.
Goldstar / PPAI 114031, S10 / www.goldstarpens.com
Employees can sip hot or cold beverages from the Perka® Trent Tumbler while commuting to conventions and while attending meetings. A powder-coat finish protects the tumbler from minor scratches and bumps. Features include a drinking straw and flip-cover sipper lid.
Logomark, Inc. / PPAI 110898, S12 / www.logomark.com
Get the Mix Bound JournalBook Bundle Set in an array of eye-catching colors to suit any meeting or convention. The 80-sheet journal includes a color-matching elastic closure, a pen loop and a ribbon page marker. A pen is included.
JournalBooks / PPAI 110769, S10 / www.journalbooks.com
Board members can use this elegant Padfolio to take notes during discussions. Designed with a felt lining, an elastic pen loop and a 60-page notepad, this debossed padfolio is available in black, brown and gray.
Spector & Co. / PPAI 168328, S9 / www.spectorandco.com
Audrey Sellers is a Dallas-Fort Worth-based writer and former associate editor at PPAI.