Meetings Professional Findings – Q4 2018 Pulse Survey
Highlights from the Pulse Survey report are below for both the Meetings Professional and Hospitality Partner respondents. Download the full report to view complete findings from the new Q4 2018 Pulse Survey.
Size and Number
As with the past four Pulse Surveys, meetings professionals continued to note that the number of meetings being planned is increasing, with more than half citing that trend in Q4 2018. While most respondents are experiencing consistency or increases in meeting sizes – 39% citing each – there was a significant jump in those reporting that the sizes of meetings being planned were decreasing (18% increase from Q2 2018).
The Q4 Pulse Survey was the first to ask about ancillary areas where meetings professionals were experiencing cost increases, as well as measures being taken to control F&B costs. These budgetary concerns may be a contributing factor to the decrease in meeting sizes.
Nearly three-quarters of meetings professionals noted they were experiencing increases in ancillary charges associated with meetings and events, the most common being in the areas of WiFi and shipping/receiving. More tenured meetings professionals were less likely to report the shipping/receiving cost increases than their less experienced colleagues.
With regard to F&B cost-controlling measures, the most frequently cited approaches included eliminating bottled water and/or full-day beverage service, shortening receptions and downscaling menus. However, roughly one-quarter of respondents were not using any cost-controlling measures with their F&B in Q4 2018, even though most respondents cited increased costs in other areas.
Staffing challenges were another new feature of the Q4 2018 Pulse Survey. Employee turnover has not changed for more than 60% of respondents, and 35% noted that the low unemployment rate has not impacted their efforts to fill open positions. For those who are experiencing challenges in their efforts to recruit new meetings professionals, the most-cited approaches to manage those challenges included shifting responsibilities for existing positions, increased advertising of open positons and decreasing the time-to-hire process.
Even with the increased awareness around sexual harassment in the workplace and at events, most respondents noted that their companies have either not changed practices or this concern is not a top-of-mind discussion. Roughly one-third of meetings professionals are looking for their management to set the right tone, and a small number has changed their event to create a more professional dynamic.
Hospitality Partner Findings – Q4 2018 Pulse Survey
Download the full report to view complete findings from the new Q4 2018 Pulse Survey.
The business outlook of the hospitality community remained strong for the third consecutive Pulse Survey, with 60% reporting that business was expected to increase in first half of 2019.
Trends Impacting Buyers
Responses to the question by hospitality partners about trends impacting buyers in the next 12-18 months were similar to Q2 2018, with the majority indicating increases in food & beverage costs (65%) and room rates (74%), and no change in attrition percentages (75%). Decreasing or unchanged availability is a likely contributor to these trends again in Q4 2018.
Like their meetings professional colleagues, employee turnover remains consistent for the majority (65%) of hospitality partners. An even higher number of suppliers than meetings professionals (48% vs. 35%) indicated that the low unemployment rate has not impacted efforts to fill open positions, however, more did cite a longer time to fill open positions. The most-cited method for improving recruitment efforts was increasing the salary and benefits package being offered.
Also consistent with the meetings professional company experience, most respondents noted that their companies have either not changed practices or the sexual harassment concern is not a top-of-mind discussion. For their client events, however, roughly one third of partners were monitoring alcohol consumption, encouraging clients to provide a code of ethics and/or to have executives/management teams set the right tone.
About the Q4 Pulse Survey
In fall 2018, meetings professionals and hospitality partners within the FICP community, in addition to subscribers of Northstar Travel Media publications, were invited to take a the Q4 survey to share their experiences on trends and conditions impacting their work. As with its previous Pulse surveys, FICP can now provide benchmarking with past-survey data. Download your full copy of the Q4 Pulse Survey Report for additional insight from your peers, and stay tuned for future Pulse survey invitations.