The meetings industry continues to thrive, according to the fall edition of Meeting Professionals International's Meetings Outlook survey.
In the report, which identified 113 trends in the meetings sector, 63 percent of planners said they perceive favorable business conditions for the industry, which MPI expects to grow by 2.6 percent over the next year.
This healthy landscape is allowing meeting professionals to be more creative and innovative in organizing events, according to MPI, which highlights as an example the February 2018 meeting of a Fortune 500 insurance company that featured "blender bikes": Guests were able to get exercise by riding stationary bikes that, being attached to pedal-powered blenders, also could whip up healthy smoothies.
"The meetings and events industry is healthy and has been for quite some time," said Bill Voegeli, president of Association Insights, which conducted the research for MPI. "Any time we have years of health and growth, we see people are able to be more innovative in their meeting design. They have a healthier market. They aren't trying to squeeze everything into a single event."
Meetings also are becoming shorter. Although 74 percent of meeting professionals said the duration of their events remains unchanged, fully 20 percent indicated that their events are getting shorter and only 6 percent said they're getting longer. About a third (30 percent) said individual sessions at their meetings are getting shorter, while just 10 percent said they're getting longer.
The full Meetings Outlook report can be found on MPI's website.