The 2014 EIBTM Trends Watch Report(TWR) as presented by Rob Davidson, Managing Director of MICE Knowledge (www.miceknowledge.com), gave a view of the factors facing the meetings and events industry in 2015. The TWR confirmed what many have been forecasting – regional differences and a cautious optimism for the meetings industry with competiveness displayed by emerging destinations.
Mr Davidson also confirmed that during the recent slower paced economic growth of particular regions, industry suppliers have been preparing for the expected upturn by investing and acquiring hotels in preparation for the inevitable upturn. Similarly, the slower paced regional economies and some emerging destinations have been forming new convention bureaus to improve their competitiveness and marketing abilities.
Southern Europe saw the creation of new convention bureaus in both Spain and Italy to position themselves in what is seen as value for money destinations. Despite the geo-political tensions between Russia and Europe, St Petersberg has also launched a new Conventions Bureau.
The destination marketing model of the convention bureau is being also being adopted by China to keep pace with a growing demand as a destination of interest and of its growing meeting business. The top class destination of Hangzhou is also expected to soon launch its own convention bureau to maintain its market presence. Mr Davidon says, “They (China) has understood that if they want to compete successfully in a global market, they need these destination marketing organisations.”
Interestingly, the top tier destinations such as London, Paris and Barcelona, are still seeing a relative shortage of capacity. The continued run of new hotel openings in the emerging destinations of Vietnam, Cambodia Sri-Lanka and Cambodia also point towards a growing willingness of the meetings and incentive markets to look for authentic and value for money experiences.