October 24th, 2023

Global DMC Partners Releases Results and Key Findings of Q2/Q3 2023 Meetings & Events Survey

While increasing costs remain a top challenge for planners, less than 40 percent of planners say their budgets increased across 2023 for meetings and incentives

Global DMC Partners (GDP), the largest global network of independent Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and specialized event service providers, has released the results of its Q2/Q3 Meetings & Events Pulse Survey, a report on what is currently driving decisions in the global meetings and events industry. With responses collected throughout June and July 2023, the report covers topics including current challenges, the importance of sustainability, in-person event attendance, hiring trends and more. The survey polled 200 meeting and event professionals, 60 percent of whom are U.S.-based, with 19 percent in the UK and Europe, and nine percent in Canada. Respondents were divided between corporate/direct planners (58 percent) and agency/third-party planners (42 percent).

Highlights from the responses included:

  • While higher costs are the number one challenge for planners and are reported to be the main influence on budgets, budgets are not necessarily getting larger.
  • Flight costs and sustainability play a large role in selecting a destination.
  • Per person budgets for both meetings and incentives vary widely.
  • Some planners are struggling with event attendance. Only 36% report that they are seeing more attendees at their in-person events.
  • As compared to the report one year ago, 20 percent more organizations are now building sustainability goals into their travel, meetings, and event programs.

Higher costs are not inevitably causing budgets to rise

Although costs remain high, meeting and incentive budgets for many planners are not increasing to account for rising costs. Less than 40 percent of planners say their budgets increased across 2023 for meetings and incentives. Many remain unsure about 2024 budgets; however, 37 percent say their 2024 meeting budgets are increasing, while 26 percent report 2024 incentive budgets are increasing. Over one-third of planners report that their meeting and incentive budgets will remain stagnant from 2023 to 2024.

“Increasing costs in relation to budgets continues to be a primary challenge for many of our clients, as evident in the recent survey responses,” said Global DMC Partners President and CEO Catherine Chaulet. “With nearly all aspects, from airfares to F&B, increasingly getting more expensive, planners are required to be more creative with the ways they spend their budget. We hope that we can continue to leverage our valued network to collaborate and help our clients succeed during these challenging financial times.”

Inflation is the number one reason that budgets are changing, but they are not necessarily getting larger. In some cases, the rising costs are forcing meeting and incentive budgets to increase. However, rising costs are also causing some budgets to decrease as organizations need to allocate spending elsewhere. For 71 percent of planners, rising airfare costs are still affecting the destinations chosen for meetings and events.

Top Challenges

Higher costs continue to be the number one challenge for planners (75.7 percent), followed by finding availability (51.3 percent). Timely approval from decision-makers, responsiveness, service levels/quality, contract negotiations and budget management are all very closely ranked in third place.

Event Attendance

Most respondents (46%) report that they are seeing about the same number of attendees at their in-person events as compared to previous years. Only 36% report that they are now seeing more attendees at their in-person events. 18% report that they are seeing less attendees than previous years.


Overall, compared to the report from one year ago, 20 percent more organizations are now building sustainability goals into their travel, meetings and event programs. Seventy-eight percent of international respondents now report that they build sustainability into their programs with 44 percent of US/Canadian respondents reporting the same. Reducing plastic usage and waste is reported as the top sustainability goal for most organizations’ meetings and events, followed by using locally sourced food options and carbon tracking and offsetting.

Sustainability can also be a factor in determining the destination for a meeting or event with 50 percent reporting that sustainability can sometimes be a factor and 30 percent reporting that it is a factor in choosing a destination for upcoming programs.

Regions of Interest and Hiring and Staffing

In terms of regions of interest, there is increased interest in almost all regions around the globe for 2024 programs, with notable increases in Asia, South America and Central America since the last Pulse Survey report. With regards to hiring and staffing, of those that are hiring, 72 percent are hiring planning roles, and there is an increased hiring of freelancers. As other industries call employees back into the office full-time, the MICE industry overall supports a hybrid or work from home model.

For the full results of GDP’s Meetings & Events Pulse Survey:

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