Goin' To Meetin'
According to the American Express Meetings & Events “2012 Meetings Forecast," 60% of meeting suppliers around the world expect the number of meetings planned to increase next year. Among those surveyed, 42% of North American, 50% of Latin American, 51% of European and 57% of Asian respondents see signs of increased activity from their clients.
Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events, says "... even in the face of economic uncertainty, meeting industry stakeholders appear to be cautiously optimistic as they report an increase in services and property demand from clients... “
The study finds that companies are continuing to support meetings and are projected to increase overall meeting budgets, while the spending for individual meetings are expected to decrease or stay flat compared to 2011. According to the survey, 33% of hoteliers surveyed expect decreasing budgets per individual meeting, while only 7% expect increases.
Insight from both meeting planners and hoteliers worldwide sheds light on general characteristics of meetings next year that companies and organizations can use to get the maximum return on investment of each gathering. The global meeting trends in 2012 include these predictions:
The number of attendees per meeting will likely decrease as will the number of meeting days, according to 40% and 33% of hotel suppliers respectively. Driving this trend is a demand to do more with less as companies look to hold a higher number of meetings.
Suppliers indicated planners want meetings closer to their businesses, with 53% of their clients requesting more local meetings, to keep individual meeting costs down.
Noting that their clients' ‘focus on meeting content is more critical than ever,' hotel suppliers expect to see more incentive programs infused with business focused content, with 47% of customers planning to combine meetings and incentives.
Hotel suppliers noted 47% of meeting clients have green request/requirements for their events. Meeting planners corroborated this trend with 73% indicating clients are showing increasing interest in reporting green measures, but it's not yet impacting property decisions.
The study reveals a shift away from bookings in luxury or resort properties with the exception of meetings within Asia Pacific and Latin America. According to suppliers 40% are seeing an uptick in demand for these properties.
The North America meetings market was fairly robust in 2011 and is expected to grow in 2012 according to the planner survey results from Maxvantage, the strategic alliance between American Express Meetings & Events and Maritz Travel in the region.
This market continues to lead others in looking for new ways to optimize meetings spend and up the return on experience. With the number of meetings expected to increase, the survey indicates companies are conscious of avoiding any negative opinions of perceived excessive spending. A quick look at the NA meeting plans shows that:
- 80% expect to increase or maintain the number of meetings
- 25% will decrease the number of attendees while 45% expect about the same
- 71% are booking in primary/large cities; 31% in secondary cities; 13% shifting bookings from primary cities to second-tier cities
- 62% expect decreases in their lead time for planning meetings and 7% expect an increase
The meetings market in Europe may experience challenges in growth next year due to the uncertain economic outlook, says the report. Despite this, it is expected that meetings will to be on a positive trajectory, mirroring the global trends.
- 75% of planners expect the same amount or more meetings in terms of the number of events held
- 26% will decrease the number of attendees while 53% expect about the same
- 62% are booking in primary/large cities; 12% in secondary cities; 26% shifting bookings from primary cities to second-tier cities.
- 43% expect decreases in their lead time for planning meetings and 11% expect an increase
Meetings in the Asia Pacific region break the mold compared to what is forecasted to likely occur in the rest of the world primarily due to the strength of local economies. Unlike other markets, the size of individual meetings is expected to grow and surveys indicate companies are less concerned with avoiding luxury properties or limiting spending. 87% expect to increase or maintain the number of meetings held
Moderate growth is projected for meetings in Latin America, In particular, though, hotel suppliers are seeing a boom in their meetings demand in key cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Panama.
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