In a major European Meetings Industry report presented at EIBTM on Tuesday, December 2 by Sally Greenhill, managing director of The Right Solution, Ltd., results reflected that despite a challenging year for the meeting industry the ‘Mood of the Market’ was optimistic and upbeat.
Twenty five percent of respondents were set to organize more international events, 9 percent more national events, and 35 percent set to keep events about the same as last year. In terms of the number of delegates attending events, the research showed that they had either remained the same or increased over 2007.
When it came to budgets, a total of 60 percent of respondents anticipated their budgets to either increase (20 percent) or remain the same (41 percent).
Major trends influencing venue selection saw 86 percent stating that CSR and environmental policies would be extremely or somewhat beneficial over the next ten years, with nearly half – 46 percent – believing that their CSR policies impacted on all aspects of event organization.
The top factor influencing venue selection saw location at the top followed by price/value for money, quality of service, access (road/rail links), capacity of conference facilities, quality of conference facilities, availability, previous experience of venue, quality of bedrooms, and quality of food.
The research showed that respondents rated the content of an event and the cost of attending a meeting as less important than the appeal of the destination and the venue. These results may reflect the many different types of events that respondents were responsible for, which include incentives. Celebrity speakers were considered far less important to delegates, perhaps down to the potential cost of employing them.
For organizers based in Europe, 98 percent had held events in Europe in the last year. Germany came tops, followed by Spain, Italy, and France. The UK came sixth just below North America, the most popular continent outside Europe, followed by Asia, Africa, and lagging well behind, Australia. Looking to the future, emerging meetings destinations such as the Philippines, Bulgaria, Trinidad, and Tobago are now registering on organizers’ antennae.
Interestingly for destinations, on average 16 percent of delegates bring partners to meetings or conferences, and just over 10 percent of delegates extend their stay.
Commenting on the ‘Mood of the Market’ research, Paul Kennedy, MBE, group exhibition director, Meetings and Incentives Events, Reed Travel Exhibitions said: “There is no doubt that 2009 will be a challenging year for everyone in the meetings industry. This report provides a realistic snapshot of how meetings and event organizers are feeling about the industry and the extent to which events and business levels may be affected in the future.
“The mood is one of optimism despite concerns. It will be vital for events to offer a valuable and worthwhile use of time for all those attending, which is also enjoyable and stimulating, yet perceived as neither extravagant nor too exclusive in its appeal. It will require careful consideration of all options for destinations, travel methods, venues, content, and speakers to achieve an appropriate balance.”