CWT Meetings & Events is predicting positive growth for the meetings industry over the next 12 months. The agency’s 2016 Meetings and Events Forecast also sounds a note of caution for planners about stricter booking conditions.
As attrition and cancellation terms are becoming stricter, supplier negotiations will be more important than ever to meeting planners, the report concludes.
The fourth annual edition of the forecast provides event planners with comprehensive regional data, including average attendee cost per day and average group size.
Key findings from different regions around the world include:
- In Europe, buyers are gaining greater negotiating power as the region sees slow but steady growth. Interest in SMM continues to increase due to double-digit savings percentages, risk mitigation, transparency, regulatory compliance and improved attendee satisfaction
- The unpredictable economy in Asia Pacific could cause challenges in the region, although stronger demand from China and India could drive up group size and prices
- High demand for meetings and events venues in North America is exceeding supply, resulting in a sellers’ market. Careful planning is therefore very important
- Pockets of high demand will be created around the Rio 2016 Olympics; and Paralympic Games next summer, resulting in a potential shortage of meeting space.
This year’s report also offers a range of practical tips for those planning meetings and events in 2016. Tips include:
- Plan ahead – Be aware that some hotels in high-demand markets no longer hold space when responding to availability requests. Decide if you can be flexible on dates.
- Fuel your budget as well as your attendees – Food and beverage (F&B) continues to be a significant driver of per-attendee costs. Adjust F&B patterns to manage budgets while promoting the healthy alternatives that remain very popular with attendees.
- Tick tock – Lead time for registration and venue contracts continues to shrink. However, by increasing the lead time for larger events, event and meeting planners can increase their negotiation power.
David Moran, executive vice-president, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, said: “Our forecast is about providing clients with valuable insight for the coming year, so they can be armed with the most relevant information for their upcoming budgeting and negotiations. Whether they are focused on meetings, events or the widespread global adoption of Strategic Meetings Management (SMM), it’s a vital tool in preparing for the year ahead.”
CWT Meetings & Events is the meetings & events division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel business portfolio and has 1,400 event specialists across 75 countries.