U.S. meeting volume in December 2022 exceeded monthly pre-pandemic levels for the second month in a row, up 3.1 percent from December 2019 benchmarks, according to meetings data provider Knowland’s monthly report.
Meetings and events volume in December also increased 141.5 percent year over year, possibly in part due to Covid-19 variants causing cancellations during December 2021. However, December 2022 meeting volume declined of 16.4 percent compared with November 2022 benchmarks due to “native seasonality,” according to Knowland.
Overall, the strong meetings volume compared with 2019 benchmarks suggests a true return to normal following the start of the pandemic is underway.
“For the second month in a row, the U.S. exceeded 2019 volumes,” Knowland chief product officer Kristi White said in the report. “The world and our industry are irrevocably changed, but we can’t look back any longer. It’s time that we stopped talking about recovery and started looking forward to understand better how we can capitalize on the future.”
Corporate meetings comprised 54.9 percent of all U.S. events in December 2022, according to Knowland. The five markets with the highest month-over-month growth in December 2022, were Sacramento, Calif.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Jacksonville, Fla., according to the report.
While meeting volume continues to increase, so has attendance per event. Knowland’s report showed the year-over-year increase in average December 2022 attendees per U.S. event was 111, compared to 99 in December 2021 and 82 in December 2019.
That said, attendee numbers may begin to plateau going into 2023, according to the Northstar Meetings Group and Cvent Meetings Industry Pulse Survey, which found less than one-third of more than 400 planners surveyed expect more attendees at their events in the next 12 months as rising prices and talk of recession cause uncertainty in the market.
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