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Meetings and Events: What’s Trending… and What’s Not

As January comes to a wrap, BCD M&E event experts are reflecting on the best and worst event trends of the past year and anticipating what to expect in 2024. Nikki McLain, Account Director for BCD M&E’s Venue Search and Meeting Solutions, and host of the Meetings Matter Chatter podcast, chatted with Regan Furtado, a Venue Sourcing Consultant, and Erin Daoust, a Program Manager from the Meeting Solutions team to get their adept insight. 

What’s trending… and what’s not?

Best and worst trends 2024

What’s one Meetings and Events trend from the past year that you’d like to stick around for 2024 and beyond?

Regan: I’d have to say that more emphasis is being put on attendee comfort and wellbeing, which is allowing for a more creative take on hotel sourcing. We are often looking for unique spaces within hotels – repurposing restaurants or other hotel outlets, ensuring ample space for soft seating instead of traditional banquet sets, and using outdoor venues as much as possible to get the attendees into fresh air and sunlight. Clients want experiences, not just meetings.

Erin: I would agree with Regan; clients are trending away from the typical meeting sets to try to foster more creativity. I’ve seen a similar trend with team-building activities and keynote speakers and MCs. We’re not really planning meetings per se – we’re tasked with creating unique experiences that just happen to have a specific focus.


And one trend that you’d like to go away?

Regan: Overall, there are still many people who are cautious about traveling in this post-pandemic environment, combined with a tough economy. We are seeing extended timelines for clients to make decisions due to tightened budget concerns, insecurities around committing to travel, and uncertainty around the number of attendees willing to participate.

At the same time, hotels are not holding space when submitting proposals, and even once shortlisted will only hold for a short amount of time due to compression in availability. In the current market environment, there are always other groups nipping at your heels, ready to scoop up the space if you aren’t contracting it.

Once we do move to contract, there are terms that need additional focus. In the past, a 20% attrition allowance was an industry norm – right now, we are seeing hotels push this to a 10-15% allowance which does not align with the client uncertainty around attendance. 


How does lead time affect non-hotel venue sourcing, booking restaurants, etc.? Are they cracking down on contracting payments or deposits?

Erin: More and more venues are requiring 100% pre-payment and some even require additional funds to be sent in advance to cover any day-of additions. Then there is the reality of availability. When clients hesitate to make quick decisions, their most-desired venues get snapped up while they are trying to decide. It’s been the cause of more than one uncomfortable conversation.


Listen to the full interview on our podcast Meetings Matter Chatter here

MMC Podcast


Originally published Jan 23, 2024 8:04:57 AM
Last updated on Jan 23, 2024 1:05:02 PM

Erin Daoust and Regan Furtado

Written by Erin Daoust and Regan Furtado

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