2024 Meetings and Events Business Looks Robust

Event planners believe 2024 is looking up for hospitality, though they aren’t reporting increasing rates of optimism as much as they were a few months ago. They’re also planning just as many events, if not more, than they have been throughout 2023, spreading their business out across much of the country, and seeing more positive interactions with hotel staff despite the lack of reduction in costs, according to the most recent Planner PULSE Survey.

Cvent and the Northstar Meetings Group surveyed hundreds of event planners to bring hoteliers insights into the concerns and needs of their customers this December. These planners span the industry and generally planned events with 51 to 500 attendees.

Event planner optimism for the future isn’t growing at the same rate as it was earlier in 2023, but few planners are less optimistic than they were a couple of months ago. For the first time this year, there is roughly the same number of planners who are more optimistic about the future of events: about 42 percent of those surveyed as those who feel the same level of optimism, and about 43 percent as they did in previous months. That means that planners still think the new year is looking bright for group business.

This positive outlook is apparent in their booking and sourcing activity as well. Nearly three-quarters of planners surveyed are actively sourcing or booking new events. These events are spread out across the country, with over half of planners currently planning events in the Northeast and Midatlantic states. The Midwest trails just slightly behind—47 percent are planning events in those states. Florida, California, and Texas are also big winners, with over a third of planners reporting that they’re planning in each of those states.


While planners were feeling constrained by their budgets earlier in the year, they are getting a bit of relief now—though potentially not as much as they’d like. Forty-six percent of planners say their organizations are increasing their budgets for 2024, though just over 40 percent will only see an increase of 5-9 percent. Only about one in seven planners are getting a budget increase higher than current market rates. About 40 percent of the planners surveyed say they’re receiving increases reflecting changes in the market right now, and another 32 percent are expecting no increase or one less than market rates.

Along with conservative budget increases, planning organizations are taking a safe approach to hiring in the current economic environment. In June, event planners were feeling very confident that their organizations were expanding, with 44 percent expecting their organization to hire new staff. Now, 62 percent of planner say that their organization will not be hiring more staff in the new year.

Planners have spent most of 2023 cultivating strategies to deal with rising costs for many of the elements of their events, from food and beverage to travel, and they’re not changing things now. Their primary strategy is to find areas to cut costs that won’t affect the attendee experience—maybe through reducing the size of the event or working with the venue to find innovative ways to use the space and available supplies. These strategies will not be changing in the new year, and the attendee experience is still top of mind for event planners in the coming months.

As is evidenced by the focus on budgeting and staffing in this survey, planners still find costs to be their biggest concern going forward. This has been consistent through much of 2023. However, some other concerns are actually declining for event planners. Concern over the cost of accommodation has dropped 5 percent since this point last year. Similarly, the unavailability of dates and spaces has dropped 9 percent in the same span. Stress about hotel and venue staffing levels has dropped a whopping 15 percent since December of 2022.

Planners are also seeing some improvements in RFP response times. The number of planners concerned by delayed responses to RFPs has dropped 8 percent this year. Almost 50 percent of planners report that they’re now receiving RFP responses in less than three days.

While not mentioned as a major concern of planners, they do believe the loss of existing relationships with hotel and venue staff is impacting their sourcing decisions. With major turnover in venue staff since the beginning of the pandemic, many event planners no longer have contacts at preferred hotels. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed believe that the lack of relationships is affecting which venues they select for their events.

Similarly to their concerns over rising costs, event planners are more focused on concrete, financial outcomes than earlier this year. The focus on sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion is dropping slightly, though not disappearing completely. Conversely, event planners are reporting that return on investment is a higher priority for them than in September.

The heavily-predicted reign of AI has not materialized—yet. Over 60 percent of planners reported that they do not currently use AI tools like ChatGPT to do their job. When asked about their opinion on how AI will change the meetings and events industry, 41 percent said they believed it would change the industry, but not the day-to-day processes used to do the job. Thirty-one percent said they believe AI will have no or negative effect on the industry.

The full report covers these findings and more and is available to use now. This December data will provide hoteliers the ability to adjust to up-to-date planner sentiment heading into the new year. The survey is published six times a year and will continue to be conducted in 2024.

Sponsored by Cvent.

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Alex Clark is a copywriter at Cvent. She creates ads, promotional materials, and webinars, specializing in content for hoteliers.