2016 is going to be a good year for the meetings industry, according to the American Express Meetings & Events 2016 Global Meetings Forecast.
“The resurgence of meetings and events over the past few years has allowed meetings professionals to demonstrate the strong value that face-to-face meetings continue to offer globally,” said Issa Jouaneh, senior vice-president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events. “Our customers recognize this value of interaction and seek opportunities to engage, reward and build meaningful experiences for meetings professionals through their managed programs. At the same time, we have seen our customers also place a greater focus on compliance as they design their programs to meet the evolving needs of meeting owners while also ensuring accountability and process discipline throughout their programs.”
The Forecast identifies key meetings activities and trends for 2016 on a global and regional basis. Its findings are based on a comprehensive survey, extensive meetings and events data, and in-depth interviews of meetings professionals (including planners, buyers and hotel suppliers from around the world) conducted by American Express Meetings & Events.
Key predictions for the North American market include:
- significant increase in the number of training and internal meetings as companies continue to invest in bringing their employees together for face-to-face meetings
- increase in attendee levels
- companies renewing their focus on employee-centric meetings by planning a greater number of incentive meetings and special events
- planners implementing processes to ensure the right audiences are in attendance to further maximize returns on meetings investments and increase compliance
- length of meetings is expected to remain unchanged
- rise in overall program spend (+1.9 per cent) but budgets will remain tightly controlled as meeting planners increase their spend per attendee, where justified
- average lead time of 18 weeks
- 4.2 per cent rise in group hotel rates
- top five U.S. meetings destinations: Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Diego and Atlanta
The forecast also looked at three key focus areas:
- Compliance Considerations – Regulatory compliance remains a critical issue for corporations across the globe with meetings operations as one area where the potential risks and penalties can be significant. Within the meetings and events space, the highest risk of non-compliance is typically related to meeting payments, expenses and records, handling of Personal Information (PI) and attendee selection.
- Incentive Programs and Events – Millennials continue to play a significant role in shaping the incentive travel space today. As a result, some companies have recognized the importance of engaging with these employees and have designed and executed specific programs aimed to motivate, recognize and reward millennial travellers through immersive and cultural experiences. Choice and personalization are key themes in designing travel experiences that inspire and motivate this large segment of the workforce.
- Mobile Apps and Event Technology – Interest in meeting-specific technology continues to grow. Planners are exploring how to use these tools (mobile apps, etc.) to increase attendee engagement as well as the effectiveness of their event.
Access the full report here.