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. The pandemic changed us, to be sure. A lot of people left event work for good. Many changed careers, took early retirement, were let go—myriad reasons. Events faltered, they resurged. The economy surged in 2022...until it didn’t. Many have told us that they are having a 2022 financial year that rivals pre-pandemic levels.
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 into the guts of the beast—our annual SOI (as we call it in house): the Special Events State of the Industry 2022.
Who responded to our survey?
59% described their company as an event or meeting planning company. 48% identified as Owner/President/Vice President or General Manager; 25% as event planner or event producer.
Interestingly, 83% noted that they have been in the events industry for over 10 years, with 27% of them more than 30 years.
Top event types in 2022
In a “select all that apply” style question, the top event type above all was “corporate” with a resounding 77% of all companies winning some type of contract from a corporation in 2022. Other top event types were those produced for associations (53%) followed by fundraisers (44%). A mélange of social events including birthdays, anniversaries, quinceañeras, etc. ran neck-and-neck with fundraisers (also 44%). Weddings rated 39%.
The ambiguous category of “other” which included fill-ins such as festivals, board retreats, guest lectures, tradeshows, commencement ceremonies, and national holiday celebrations brought up the tail at 21%.
Interestingly, in catering, corporate events also trended at 77%, but social events were near neck-and-neck at 74% and weddings were higher at 66%.
Pre- versus post-COVID event numbers
While word on the street says that many event pros are far busier than they were pre-COVID, the survey said otherwise. Pre-COVID, 45.69% selected 1–24 events as their top number contracted. In our post-COVID survey, however, 49.4% selected 1–24 events. All other areas of selection (25–49, 50–100, and 100+) saw a small percentage drop over pre-COVID numbers. Typical attendance at events holds steady at an average of 100–249 guests (35%).
Finally, we asked what types of content our readership is most interested in devouring. The biggest surprise was that staff hiring and retention was the least interesting ofthe 11 selections we offered. Whether that speaks to an industry that has rebounded well enough that it is unconcerned about hiring (doubtful) or that managers feel they have the tools they need to hire appropriately...we can speculate all day.
What you want to know more about, however, are event design ideas and trends, event technology, food and beverage trends, sales and marketing techniques, and sustainability. We’ll do our best to cover all of these in upcoming months through the pages of Special Events magazine, via our website, and through our live content at The Special Event in March 2023.
Stay tuned for the rest of our State of the Industry series!