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Special Events Blog

Survey Says: Special Events State of the Industry 2023

Part 1 in our annual State of the Industry report

Feature image: An opulent gala by Atlas Event Rentals. Photo courtesy Capeheart Photography

Earlier in the third quarter, Special Events released a survey to our readership. Surveys are always a good place to start an end of the year report. While we’re still seeing the residual effects of COVID-19 in the industry, we’ve also seen significant bounce back, with numbers remaining level and even increasing throughout this year. More than that, we’re seeing a sense of hope about the future.

Let’s first look at a few of the simple questions we asked, and some of the interesting responses we received, and then we will move onto the main event: our annual SOI (as we call it in house), the Special Events State of the Industry 2023.

Who responded to our survey?

A small majority of survey respondents reside in California (15%), while 13% reside in Florida and 12% are outside of the U.S.

42% identified as the CEO/founder of their company, while 21% identified as Production Manager/Event Producer/Event Designer, and 18% as Director/VP.

Interestingly, many industry veterans made up the whole of our respondents. 63% have been in the industry for over 20 years; 18% have been in it for 15–20 years, 11% for 10–14 years, and 5% for 5–9 years. 76% reported that their company has been in business for 20 years or more.

Resilience in the face of challenge

As for the staffing shortage, our industry seems to be hanging on: 47% reported that their employee numbers have remained the same since last year, while 16% reported a 1-25% increase in employees. About 12% reported a decrease in numbers, meaning while the majority are coping with this struggle, staffing remained a challenge in 2023. In fact, 55% of respondents predict that the labor shortage/lack of skilled labor will be the greatest professional challenge of 2024.

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In 2023, event pros were concerned with similar issues: 46% of respondents with the cost of goods and services; 28% with client budget constraints, and 22% with staffing live events appropriately in all areas. About 4% reported their greatest concern this past year was the supply chain issue.

Thankfully, we’re seeing continuous growth in the aftermath of the pandemic, though not across the board: 50% reported an increase in events produced since 2022; while 26% reported a decrease.

The future remains hopeful: 32% of respondents had events booked into Q2 of 2024 at the time of this survey, and 29% in Q4, with 13% booked into Q1 of 2025. 53% predict they will stage more events in 2024 than 2023.

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Stay tuned for the rest of our State of the Industry 2023 Report!

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