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Blog article 5 min read

6 Trends for Meetings and Events in 2024

Preslea Jane

Written on

From earlier parties to evacuation plans, new circumstances are prompting interesting trends for the meeting and event industry in 2024.

With the perpetual objective of savings costs and mitigating risk, we've rounded up the innovative ways for event professionals to make the most of their meetings and events in the year ahead.

Trend #1

A compelling case for work-hour events

With the ongoing prominence of remote work, an extra emphasis on work-life balance, and the goal of reducing risk and cost wherever possible, work-hour events are coming to the forefront as a new and welcome solution.

Whether it's an 11am to 3pm wholesome get-together, or a slightly more accessible 3pm to 6pm for those with families waiting at home, there has been a recent shift toward daytime celebrations.

“Corporate party planners have noted a shift since the pandemic in what their clients want for office holiday festivities. They’re seeing more demand for daytime celebrations and parties with reduced alcohol,” reads the New York Times piece, Did the Grinch Come for the Office Holiday Party?

There are a few notable benefits to events within work hours: lower cost, reduced risk, better attendance, improved connection, and health benefits.

Employees want their evenings back, and the classic 5 à 7 is no longer lauded as the sign of a strong company culture. As well, the trend toward less alcohol intake is having employees opt for the afternoon non-alc beverage instead of an evening cocktail.

Leaders looking to reduce risk also see an opportunity in events that no longer require transportation, offsite venues, and alcohol permits. And, these within hours events often have better attendance and encourage connection between different departments.

See how Planned supports internal bookings with external vendors for the best of both worlds.

Trend #2

Event budgets continue to rise

Doing more with less continues to be the best play. According to the Amex GBT 2024 Forecast, 72% of North-American companies are increasing their overall meeting spend, compared to 65% in 2023.

In 2024, the cost per attendee per day is expected to see another uptick, reaching an average of $174.

The main challenges for event planners are expected to be costs, budget cuts, and location availability, making strategic sourcing a key area of focus.

The solution remains as it were in 2023: a centralized platform for every event to gain visibility on spend and enforce policies with ease across the board. Beyond that, AI-powered quote comparison and negotiation are empowering non-experienced planners to unlock savings like never before.

  • 72% of North-American companies are increasing their overall meeting spend, compared to 65% in 2023, according to AMEX.
  • In 2024, the cost per attendee per day is expected to see another uptick, reaching an average of $174.
  • The main challenges for event planners are expected to be costs, budget cuts, and location availability, making strategic sourcing a key area of focus.

Trend #3

Levelling up event planning with AI

The potential applications of AI in event planning have steadily increased over the past year of innovations. Workflow automation has improved significantly, within Planned and with other tools to help you streamline your to dos.

When it comes to Planned's AI features, we enable automatic quote collection, supplier sourcing, document extraction, and in the near future, advanced reporting & insights (available to beta users), and budgeting tools (coming soon).

As well, we just released a new guide to AI for event professionals. It is a practical guide with tips on how to revolutionize your own work reality with the evolving technology, how to create your personal tech stack, and how to become an event prompt engineer. Check it out here.

You can read about our product ethos when it comes to integrating with AI here, in an interview with our Head of AI.

Trend #4

Data analytics with AI

With 42% of event professionals planning to use AI in 2024, deriving valuable insights from data with the technology available is a strategic, if not already an essential, part of the planning process.

A few of its applications include:

  • Enabling personalized experiences for attendees
  • Measuring the success of events based on company metrics
  • Leveraging year-long potential of events with content
  • Data on ROI to inform new event budgets
  • Enabling more powerful negotiations
  • Measuring sustainability efforts
  • Measuring DE&I efforts

AI enables quick extrapolation of insights from complex data, and these insights should be leveraged to their fullest potential to level-up with quality data analytics in 2024.

Learning how to properly protect personal identifiable information when crunching numbers in publicly available tools is key, and even something worth having an internal event over.

Skift covers the applications in depth in their Megatrends 2024 report.

Trend #5

The learning potential of events

As per usual, but even more so post-pandemic, people need a good reason to attend.

In 2024, networking and quality educational sessions are in the spotlight as the answer to attendees interests.

Providing a networking or learning opportunity increases attendees willingness to show up, but it has to be with the balance of a well-thought out event where entertainment, breakout sessions and more casual activities, are also included.

To create a well-rounded event for your attendees or employees:

  • Focus on skill development
  • Shift from motivational programming to practical training on industry topics
  • Sourcing for relevant and exciting speakers to generate interest

Trend #6

Risk management

When it comes to outdoor events or anything that requires travel, the importance of risk management is on the rise. Smaller events seem to be the solution.

“Take, for example, the smoke from Canadian wildfires that impacted large swathes of the U.S. or the tragic wind-driven Maui wildfires. Even the typically dry Black Rock Desert became an unforeseeable muddy mess during Burning Man, trapping even the most rugged attendees. There are so many examples of outdoor music concerts being impacted by the climate crisis that Billboard created a list for 2023. These are not isolated tales of inconvenience; they’re stark reminders of a new era where every outdoor event must anticipate disruption.”

Skift Meetings Megatrends 2024 The Climate Crisis Disrupts More and More Events

Smaller-scale events are one effective way to create climate-resilient events:

  • Lower financial risk
  • Greater agility in the case of emergency
  • Less risk with potential cancellation
  • More intimate connection
  • More sustainable

By keeping events in the office or sourcing within a certain proximity, we can reduce risk by reducing the need for travel.

One thing is certain for 2024 in the world of events. Change and innovation will be more prevalent than ever as AI expands possibilities, costs continue to rise, attendee demands mature and the toll on the environment impacts events. Being proactive in having strategic programs in place to save costs and mitigate risk will be key.

Create your meeting and event program today, and see how Planned can support your event planning workflow.