The American Express Meetings & Events 2020 Forecast, released 10 September, predicts meeting professionals are looking aggressively towards 2020, as steady growth across all meeting types is predicted for a fifth consecutive year.
The global forecast contained the following key European findings:
- Overall European meeting spend is predicted to increase by 2.1%, and cost per attendee per day is expected to increase by 1.9% for incentives and special events
- If budgets were to increase, 30% of those surveyed would focus on improving the onsite experience, up 5% from last year.
- Meeting planners are facing specific challenges relating to GDPR and the political instability caused by Brexit
Other general report findings include planners indicating they would prioritise experiential elements over logistics to drive better engagement, as well as being keen to integrate technology in ways that mirror how attendees interact with technology in their daily lives to create authentic event experiences.
Other event aspects may be compromised to help fund these impactful moments, it seems, and globally there are currently more meetings taking place than there is space available, which suggests future challenges for organisers and planners.
Meetings management policies will become increasingly robust in 2020, with compliance levels predicted to reach 85% across regions.
In the era of GDPR, planners are addressing growing compliance and data privacy demands in their policy updates.
“Overall, it’s inspiring to see an optimistic outlook about the meetings and events industry as we look to 2020. Meetings and events have cemented their place as a critical driver of communications, growth, and engagement for organisations of all shapes and sizes,” said Gerardo Tejado, General Manager at American Express Meetings & Events. “The challenge for planners now lies in making more out of what they have—creating a seamless experience for meeting attendees, using technology for an authentic purpose, and meeting the demand for personalised experiences.”
In North America, the survey results would appear to indicate that hard work is paying off, as meeting professionals in North America look ahead to a year of stable growth. After years of promoting policy compliance, three out of four organisations have implemented formal approval processes.
North America will see a modest 1.6% increase in overall spend, the survey predicts and finds there will still be more internal meetings than any other type of meeting, though the overall number is expected to fall from 30% to 25%, in part because of more incentive trips, which could rise to 15% from 11%.
In Europe the experience is ‘almost’ everything, with planners having to be mindful of “how” they deliver an event experience while remaining GDPR compliant.
Asia Pacific faces a juggling act, the survey predicts, with total meeting spend for 2020 predicted to rise across all regions. APAC will see the most modest increase at 1.3%. Planners continue to do more with less in the region, while always keeping the attendee experience in central focus. While meeting professionals indicate more varied preferences for how they would address changing budgets, such as reducing number of nights (16%), onsite travel staff (13%), and room drops (13%), 35% of respondents indicated they would improve the onsite experience if budgets were increased by 10%.
Central and South America is clearly ready to embrace meetings technology, with survey respondents predicting a stable year for the meetings and events industry. This is the only region where projected budget increases could match the expected rate increases. Central & South America industry professionals are also the most optimistic about planners’ abilities to incorporate technology to enhance their meeting experience.
Meetings programmes are also becoming more formalised in the region, with more than 81% of respondents indicating they have a formal policy, centralised staff and approval processes. Group hotel rates are expected to increase by 2.3% along with group air rates at 1.7%, but overall meeting spend will see a healthy increase of 2.6%, along with the number of conferences and tradeshows which will increase by 6%.
The 2020 Global Meetings & Events Forecast is based on a survey of more than 550 meetings and events professionals from around the world, and interviews with industry experts. Respondents represent corporations, associations, buyers and suppliers from five continents and 33 countries. The result is a statistically and globally representative picture of the 2020 meetings and events industry.
Click here to download the full report and access more content about the 2020 Global Meetings & Events Forecast.
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has also announced the appointment of Johan Wilson as its new Vice-President and General Manager for the Nordics.