Safety and security issues are top-of-mind with planners, according to the 2016 winter edition of the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Meetings Outlook report.
Forty-eight percent of respondents to the quarterly survey said they expected the costs of meetings to rise due to the need for greater security. Forty-four percent reported that they anticipated changes to the meeting and event industry due to the increasing prevalence and threat of terrorism. And 28 percent are making changes in how they run meetings in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, CA.
How are planners and organizations meeting the challenge of planning in turbulent times? Fifteen percent are doing more destination research and communications regarding risk; five percent will be doing more attendee screening; and 19 percent are providing more employee training.
Other efforts revealed in the survey include:
- nine percent are updating procedures and contingency plans
- 15 percent are adding more security staff
- five percent are working with law enforcement (local and federal)
- 14 percent are developing new security plans
However, 27 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “they believe their current actions are sufficient to keep them safe, that they are statistically unlikely to be victims or that their locations and events are of little or no value to terrorists.”
BUDGETS AND BUSINESS
On the dollars and cents side, 68 percent of the survey’s respondents are predicting favourable business conditions in the year ahead, and 55 percent predict favourable budget/spend. In contrast, only eight percent predict negative business conditions, and 16 percent predict negative budget/spend. Twenty-four percent and 29 percent respectively expect neutral business conditions and neutral budget/spend.
Despite the general optimism, the report says that buying power is down. Spend is projected to increase by just 1.6 percent while prices are on track to rise 4.1 percent overall. Projected price rises in specific categories include:
- 4.6 percent in f&b/catering
- 3.6 percent in audiovisual
- 4.2 percent in air travel
- 4.5 percent in room rates
- 3.3 percent in meeting space
The complete Winter 2016 Meetings Outlook is available online at mpiweb.org. The quarterly report is developed by MPI in partnership with Visit Denver and is supported in partnership with IMEX Group.