For the past two-plus years, the meetings and event industry – that vital ability to gather, connect and inspire – has been turbulent and hard to predict.
According to the North Bay Business Journal, “professionals steeped in hosting and planning business meetings have seen a significant rebound this year.”
“Between early spring and summer, I did about five corporate retreats” within Sonoma and Marin counties, Moira Gubbins, a Mill Valley-based meetings and events specialist in the industry for more than 25 years, told the Journal.
But Gubbins said there has been a common thread among the group meetings she’s arranged so far this year: They are proceeding with caution.
“We’ve been focusing on venues that have both indoor and outdoor spaces, and lots of nature,” Gubbins told the Journal. “And everyone has seemed pretty comfortable.”
Gubbins said her business clients tend to be upper-management leaders who have traditionally put value on group meetings. But that’s not necessarily the case with the younger workforce and those who have settled into working remotely, she noted. “I think we’re being led by people who came up working in offices, standing around the watercooler, going out after work for drinks and bonding,” she said. “I did an event for a company that had hired some people online during the pandemic, and they had never met in-person.”
Another result of the pandemic that’s compelling companies to hold in-person meetings is that many decided to no longer occupy physical offices.
“They’re starting to realize they could spend the money that they would have been spending on leases and other perks,” Gubbins said, “and instead pull people together a couple of times a year to have a very impactful couple of days.”