Mr January says: 2011 an exciting year for the event industry

Expert Opinion

Nothing can be more promising than to start the New Year with great predictions for growth and development within the event industry. The month of January is always an exciting one as we begin to set new goals and think about the forthcoming twelve months. January 2011 was particularly positive as it included the launch of MPI’s annual FutureWatch report. The report provides insight to the trends that are going to affect the meeting industry in 2011 and this year looks good. The report offers an incredibly optimistic view of the industry in 2011: predicting an 8 per cent rise in the number of meetings planned by organisations with an increase of up to 4 per cent average net revenue.

The report, which is based on a survey, says that smarter meetings, increased technology and cooperation among industry peers will bring around an unprecedented growth in the coming years. It provides an in-depth analysis of each trend affecting the industry and offers suggestions to cope with the changes.

For me in particular, one of the interesting things highlighted by the report is how the scope and demand for new technology is growing and how it is impacting the ways in which the events are planned, budgeted and conducted. It points out the fact that 30 per cent of meeting professionals will be using virtual or hybrid meetings in the future and there will be a 17 per cent  jump in the use of social media. It also indicates a growing demand for mobile application, which many, myself included, see as great tool for generating buzz among attendees and delivering timely information to delegates.

The integration of social media into the marketing mix has become common place, again this has been highlighted in the report, which shows that 40 per cent of respondents plan to increase spend on digital marketing by as much as 10 per cent. Although, personally I am surprised these figures are so low particularly as they have been released in the same month as Wikipedia celebrates its 10th birthday. Surely the media buzz around this digital behemoth confirms the importance of online, mobile and social tools.

In my opinion, 2011 will be an exciting year for both planners and suppliers if they adopt the right marketing strategies. MPI will, as ever, continue to grow and educate its members for the benefit of all over the coming months.

I wonder what Futurewatch 2012 will say…

Anthony Hyde is Head of Sales at Barbican and Immediate Past President of the UK and Ireland Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). The MPI 2011 calendar is being sold to raise money for the MPI Foundation Europe. The proceeds and will be used for scholarships.

In the first of our series of blogs from the MPI calendar boys, Mr January – Anthony Hyde looks back at the first month of the year.

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