Meeting Mentor Magazine

September 2020

Positive Projections

Signs Point to More Robust Year for Meetings

There’s no “cautious” attached to meetings industry optimism for 2011.

The latest to weigh in with good news is MPI’s FutureWatch 2011, projecting a more robust year for the meetings industry than the turnaround year of 2010. Well above half (58 percent) of its panel of industry professionals predict that the number of meetings will increase in 2011, with more than a third (37 percent) saying the number will at least remain the same.

There will be looser purse strings for some, but hardly the majority. While 18 percent expect budgets to significantly rise in the coming year, more than twice that number (39 percent) anticipate just a slight bump up, and about a quarter (24 percent) predict no change.

Meanwhile, a separate FutureWatch survey of 459 meetings professionals in 20 countries reports positive signs — the number of meetings planned by organizations up 8 percent; the number of delegates per meeting up 2 percent; and average spend per meeting up 5 percent. Suppliers are exceedingly optimistic, citing double-digit increases of 11 percent for the number of meetings overall to be served and a 14 percent rise in the number of proposals being prepared by respondents.

Although corporations and associations are closely watching expenses, increasing business travel should give a boost to meetings in 2011. According to a recent Deloitte Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure survey, by the end of this year, 80 percent of respondents say they will have taken more or the same number of business trips in 2011 than they did in 2010, and nearly the same number (79 percent) will also spend the same or more. The top two ways they had controlled costs in 2010 were by cutting back overall on travel expenses and staying away for fewer days.

Echoing the upbeat outlook were meeting professionals, hoteliers, and destination management organizations attending the recent Professional Convention Management Association’s Annual Meeting. Anecdotally, they anticipate increases in both the number of events put on and meeting attendance, despite economic issues specific to their markets.

The improving climate for meetings and business travel, however, will mean higher rates for hotel rooms, which will further squeeze tight budgets and already stretched resources. Indeed, preliminary numbers for all of 2010 from STR showed that demand (room nights sold) rose nearly 8 percent, and average daily rate trended upward throughout second half 2010.

In response, FutureWatch 2011 points to more collaboration between hoteliers and meeting professionals to address budgets, cancellations, attrition, and staffing. Nearly a quarter of respondents in FutureWatch 2011 said that improved planner-supplier relationships are more important than ever to achieve budget and performance goals.

What it all means: Meetings must be “smarter” in the future, according to FutureWatch 2011 — carefully defined, effectively targeted, appropriately located, right-sized, content-rich, and measured for value. Technology innovation will play a key role in improving quality and efficiency at every point in meeting planning and delivery. — Maxine Golding

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

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