Increasing confidence sees lead times and investment increase, according to the Meetings Industry Association

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Confidence in the future growth and sustainability of the business meetings and events sector is returning, according to the Meetings Industry Association’s (MIA) latest mia Insights.

Surveying 185 organisations, the quarterly benchmarking report reveals 73% are confident in the sector which is seeing average booking lead times extend from 11 weeks in February 2024 to 16 weeks and the average enquiry being £27,853.

Thanks to the rising confidence, investment continues to increase with 78% of organisations having a dedicated strategy in place – which has risen by 10% since October 2023.

Today, 85% are investing in their development compared to 80% eight months ago, with the average organisation investing £348,035 in the last 12 months. Areas of focus include technology, training and development, marketing, renovation, equipment and recruitment.

ESG also remains high on the agenda. Almost three quarters (73%) have a dedicated strategy, with 89% of respondents revealing they are clear on their organisations’ ESG goals and progress. When it comes to tracking performance, 78% of organisations have dedicated ESG KPIs in place and 60% conduct environmental audits. Similarly, 38% of organisations carry out social impact assessments.

As a result, more than half (56%) of organisations have a roadmap to achieve Net Zero by 2050, while 70% are on track to achieve its Net Zero goals for 2030 (cutting carbon emissions by 45%). This commitment has seen the majority (81%) invest in areas such as energy-efficiency, waste reduction, recycling and carbon offsetting programs in the last 12 months, as well as renewable energy sources, water conservation measures and sustainable building materials.

However, staffing issues continue to plague the sector with 70% reporting staff vacancies – an increase of 9% from October 2023. Similarly, almost half (49%) continue to consistently report a skills shortage.

Meanwhile, the government’s increase in the National Minimum Wage in April has impacted more than half (56%) of the sector – with 53% of these organisations revealing that they have had to increase their prices as a result, while also absorbing additional costs.

Looking to the future, 81% of respondents are predicting an AI revolution, with artificial intelligence being utilised by just a third (36%) of the sector to perform daily tasks. This includes compiling RFPs, handling customer enquiries and generating marketing copy.

Yet, despite AI’s growing significance, less than a quarter (22%) consider their workforce to have a high understanding of how to use it. Subsequently, less than a quarter (24%) of respondents have a policy in place that guides the ethical use of AI within their organisations.

The MIA’s chief executive, Kerrin MacPhie, said: “Including and measuring sentiment for the first time in areas such as confidence in the sector has provided a powerful attribute to our latest mia Insights.

“While they largely provide encouraging signs, which are reflected in the wider results of the survey, the perceptions of government support, while unsurprising, does however present cause for concern.

“More than half of respondents highlighted emerging challenges they’re facing that they would like to raise with government. This includes recruitment challenges, public transport infrastructure and international attractiveness among many other topics which we will present to government following the result of the upcoming General Election.”

To download a copy of the latest MIA Insights visit https://www.mia-uk.org/insight-surveys.

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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