Rising air fares and fees, inflation, travel disruptions, COVID, and security and safety remain the key concerns identified by attendees when it comes to participating in domestic and international meetings and events

Purchase Portrait of European Meetings and Convention Travel: Perspectives from Travellers and Planning Professionals

In the wake of the pandemic, expected recovery for the meetings, conference and conventions industry is now predicted to happen by July 2023 – eight months earlier than anticipated. There is a notable divergence in what attendees and planners are looking for in meetings, conferences and conventions in the near future, with 51% of attendees agreeing that in person would be preferred post-pandemic compared to 80% of planners, while 44% of attendees would opt for virtual compared to just 20% of planners, according to new research by MMGY Travel Intelligence in partnership with IMEX Group and MMGY Hills Balfour.

Today, the company released the findings of its Portrait of European Meetings and Convention Travel: Perspectives from Travellers and Planning Professionals, the first survey of its kind to examine the mindsets, intentions and preferences of both meeting, conference and convention attendees and professional planners. The comprehensive survey collected data over two phases in 2022 from over 3,200 respondents (1,600 in phase one and 1,600 in phase two). The majority of planners surveyed are based in Germany, the UK and Belgium, while attendees are a quarter each from the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and France.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, says:These findings are useful in that they help identify the remaining gaps between planner and attendee expectations. At a time when the market craves more certainty, data like this can help us plan forward into 2023 with more confidence and insight. It’s also reassuring to see both sustainability and carbon measurement on the agenda.”

The findings indicated that in-person meetings are starting to make a comeback – with planners noting that the number of domestic and international meetings attended in 2022 are back to pre-COVID-19 levels. There remains a hesitancy around in-person events for attendees going forward, which is driven by rising costs and potential for travel disruption, with COVID-19 listed as the second most important concern for attendees. Four out of five attendees believes that the likelihood to attend meetings in the future changed because of COVID-19, while planners no longer see COVID-19 as a major barrier, and only two-thirds of planners attributes COVID-19 as the reason for that change.

“It is interesting to see the comparative views of the professional planners and attendees when it comes to the types of events they wish to attend moving forward, with attendees clearly more satisfied with the various alternatives to in-person meetings,” said MMGY Travel Intelligence Europe Managing Director Cees Bosselaar. Although COVID is no longer the number one factor, there are still many influences in play which make virtual meetings and events an acceptable alternative to in-person events, and therefore, virtual is certainly here to stay.”

Other key findings from the study include:  

  • Nearly all planners and attendees foresee an increase in prices for the remainder of the year due to rising air fares, accommodation costs, and fees to hire venues and event spaces.
  • Hybrid meetings are here to stay but have lost importance since spring 2022, with three out of four meeting planners booking in-person meetings, demonstrating a sharp increase at the expense of hybrid.
  • Planners and attendees want something unique in meeting venues, but attendees still tend to prefer the hotel and hotel conference room and are more likely to attend this type of venue over a unique or historic alternative.
  • The need for sustainable meetings and events has significantly increased compared to pre-pandemic, more so for planners than attendees. However, two out of three attendees indicate that they would be willing to pay more for sustainable programmes.
  • Planners and attendees agreed that they see measuring of carbon footprint of all travel and carbon offset programmes as key sustainability efforts.

For more information about the study or to purchase a copy, visit or contact


About the Portrait of European Meetings and Convention Travel: Perspectives from Travellers and Planning Professionals

The survey, designed by MMGY Travel Intelligence Europe, provides sponsors with substantial insight into the landscape likely to emerge in future years, not only examining the mindsets, intentions and preferences of meeting, conference and convention attendees but comparing their perspectives with the ones of those responsible for industry planning efforts. The survey was fielded to attendees in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands together with planners throughout Europe and the UK.

About MMGY Travel Intelligence

MMGY Travel Intelligence is MMGY Global’s industry research and insights brand, offering proprietary data and research including MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers® as well as DK Shifflet’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/MonitorSM, which is comprised of the largest continuous consumer travel database in the industry. The organisation’s services are designed to power travel industry decision-makers through consumer insights, travel performance data, and audience modelling and segmentation. To learn more about the extensive collection of research, analytics and strategy services, visit or email

About IMEX

The IMEX Group organises two market-leading, annual trade shows for the global meetings, incentive travel and business events industry: IMEX in Frankfurt each spring and IMEX America each autumn. Whatever IMEX does, it lives by three core values: quality, innovation and collaboration. IMEX’s mission and sole aim is to unite and advance the meetings industry – doing everything it can to educate, innovate and help everyone make powerful connections with the right people. Contact: Kit Watts, Communications Strategist, IMEX Group /

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