The number of meetings executed last month was 350 percent more than the volume in Jan. 2021, data provider Knowland reported. That strong year-over-year gain occurred even as the volume dipped in January by 16.5 percent from December 2021, as Omicron and wintertime cooled the burgeoning activity seen at the close of last year.
The data would appear to reinforce that of the latest Northstar/Cvent Meetings Industry PULSE Survey, which found that, although planner optimism waned during this latest Covid surge, the drop was not nearly as precipitous as it was during the Delta surge. Planners are learning to navigate the ebb and flow of the virus.
“While there was a dip in meetings month over month, we don’t believe it is indicative of a significant step back for the meetings industry but rather a minor pause," said Kristi White, chief product officer at Knowland. "Recovery is still happening."
Among the additional highlights of Knowland's report:
• The average number of attendees per meeting has rebounded close to prepandemic levels. An average of 102 people attended each meeting in January 2022, up from 42 in January 2021 and approaching the average of 112 in January 2019.
• The ratio of space used to attendee count is similar to 2019. Last month's meetings used an average of 2,516 square feet, compared with 2,481 square feet last year and 2,303 square feet in January 2019. That equates to 24 square feet per person this year, vs. 21 square feet in 2019. Last year the average was 59 square feet per person.
• Corporate meetings continue to represent the largest market segment. Seven out of 10 meetings (70.1 percent) last month were in the corporate segment; technology, health care and training/education were the largest industry verticals in terms of volume.
Knowland's insights are based on analysis of data collected from both customers and noncustomers, as well as field reporting and comparisons with the firm's historical database.