AMEX has released is long awaited – 2015 Global Meetings & Events Forecast. The report compiles information from actual and planned meetings activity globally and identifies trends within the meetings industry across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Central/South America. The report identified trends that show, meetings are once again playing a fundamental role in sales and marketing strategies for many organizations with global expansion and standardization playing a powerful part in influencing business.
The AMEX Global Trends Report 2015 will be presented and discussed as one of the key EIBTM 2014 Knowledge Program on Wednesday, November 19. The session presented by Jose Antonio Ruiz, Vice President, Europe and Saskia Gentil, Head of France, American Express Meetings & Events – will discuss issues impacting the meetings space including digital meetings solutions, planning in emerging markets, Group Air, tips for successful sourcing.
Interestingly, the report identifies that total meeting spends will likely increase somewhat, however this would likely to be due to a greater number of meetings rather than increased spending per event. It went on to suggest that individual meeting spends would continue to be tight with smaller per meeting budgets. The report states, “Planners interviewed have noticed that meeting owners are being pressured to deliver the same quality of experience as in previous years…”
The survey points to a slow but continued growth in meeting budgets, with some regional slowing. The reports showed that 2015 would show continued optimism especially in North and South America, whereas Europe and Asia Pacific were expecting small declines although lesser than in 2014. Program spending cuts appear to either be getting smaller or reversing, and pointed towards a growing optimism for the meetings industry.
An interesting observation was that Incentive Meetings budgets had largely survived as companies recognised the importance and value in maintaining staff relationships and morale in competitive economic times. The report shows there is an increase in both the number of training meetings and attendees to training meetings as businesses focus on building and globalisation.
The suggestion was that meeting planners were being asked to deliver more for less in contrast to hotels and airlines experiencing an increase in rates which the report suggest will make some planning negotiations more difficult between suppliers and buyers. The report also identified certain pressures building within the hotel property supply chain.
While meeting planners were under pressure to provide something new or different for meeting locations. There is an apparent rise in demand for mid-tier properties across the globe as planners seek mid-tier locations to balance meeting budgets as they in turn face increased competition for those rooms from other planners and travellers. The demand for mid-tier properties for budget minded planners was likely to draw some demand away from resort and luxury properties.
There was a clear trend towards more non-traditional meetings facilities in innovative locations for a portion of their events. This would benefit those properties that are able to provide creative solutions.
The affect of compliance with regulations was seen as a tend having increased impact on meeting planning where information security, data privacy, and anti-corruption regulations, often overlap with enforcement agencies from various different jurisdictions.
These demand appear to be creating a trend for consolidation and out-sourcing of the meeting planning process for both compliance and financial reasons.
Previously, companies that had ‘in-were investigating out-sourcing to simplify the organization’s efforts to meet compliance reporting requirements and increase the accuracy of financial overview of their meetings.
The meetings business in emerging countries has grown significantly in recent years and the AMEX report states there are key points to focus on in order to ensure their meeting goes smoothly – security, technology, transportation, food & beverage, and payments.
The AMEX 2015 Global Meetings & Events Forecast also clearly identified the top concerns of meeting planners. The highest rating concern for meeting planners was the public relations perception of selecting a resort-style destination except in the Asia Pacific region, where there appears to be a greater acceptance of these destinations. Economic and political instability and safety concerns were also identified as key concerns especially following the continued instability in certain regions of the globe.
According to Issa Jouaneh, Vice President and General Manager, American Express Meetings & Events, “The meetings and events industry appears to once again have a solid foundation, with an increased focus on optimizing spend and delivering results that will make this next year an exciting and productive one for the industry.”
The complete 2015 Global Meetings & Events Forecast is available from the AMEX Business Travel website.