Futurewatch Study Reveals Meeting Industry Set to Adapt to 2009 Challenges

11/02/2009 - FutureWatch 2009

The initial executive summary of FutureWatch 2009 released by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in partnership with American Express shows that the meeting industry will sharpen its focus and streamline its activities in light of the challenging global market.

The economic effect, according to the report, is not quite as severe as first anticipated. Meeting attendance per meeting is expected to increase by 3% in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and 9% in Canada but with a 5% decline in the United States.

Key preliminary FutureWatch findings:
- In 2009, meeting and event budgets are expected to fall by 6%. Last year’s report predicted that budgets would rise 22.6%. In fact, 17% of corporate meeting planners and 12% of association meeting planners predict some level of budget reductions in 2009. Nevertheless, government meeting planners generally expect fewer budget reductions.
- Planners and suppliers agree that an increase in creativity and innovation will be a necessary and invaluable tool in 2009. They expect new standards and practices to emerge making the industry more efficient and effective. While client planners foresee a 9% drop in volume, independent meeting management professionals expect only a marginal 0.5% drop.
- 11% of meeting professionals expect an increase in the use of technology to access meetings and content remotely, to help lower overall costs.
- Face-to-face meetings are still considered to have the highest ROI of all marketing tools. A greater significance is being placed on planners worldwide to provide the value of the proposed meeting or event. 74% of organisations holding meetings and events measure ROI with the primary measure being the satisfaction of the attendees.

FutureWatch 2009 is based on 2,740 responses from industry professionals. The full report will be released at MPI’s European Meetings and Events Conference in Turin, 1-3 March 2009.

Amadeus predicts drop in business travel
In 2009, executives will go on fewer business trips, which will be shorter and cheaper, and they will show preference for basic efficiency and adequate service over complementary services, according Amadeus’ latest report, prepared by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

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