Meeting planners in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia all agree on one thing: The number of meetings they’re planning will increase next year.
According to the American Express Meetings & Events Global Meetings Forecast report, meetings in 2012 will be:
- Shorter with fewer attendees. According to hoteliers surveyed, the number of attendees and the length of meetings are expected to decrease.
- Closer to home. More than half the suppliers surveyed (53 percent) reported their clients are requesting more local meetings.
- Packed full of content. Almost half of the hotel suppliers (47 percent) said their clients plan to combine meetings with incentive programs. And they report the focus on creating compelling, relevant content is more important to meeting planners than ever.
- Eco-friendly. Planner requests for green initiatives/requirements are appearing on 47 percent of the RFPs hotel suppliers are receiving. And that will increase: 73 percent of the meeting planners surveyed said their clients are showing more interest in reporting green measures.
- Budget-conscious. With the exception of meetings being held in Asia Pacific and Latin America, planners are shifting away from booking events in luxury hotels and resorts.
- Short-term bookings. More than half of North American planners (62 percent) expect to see their lead time for planning meetings decrease. And they’re not alone. Nearly half of European planners (43 percent), and almost a quarter of the planners in Asia-Pacific and Latin America (26 percent and 21 percent, respectively) feel the same way.
- Increasingly in smaller cities. In North America, 71 percent of the planners will book first-tier cities and 31 percent will meet in second-tier cities, but 13 percent said that they will be moving their meetings from primary to secondary cities in 2012. European planners are also taking meetings to smaller cities than they did before — 26 percent say they’ll make the switch this year; 12 percent already book in second-tier destinations. Almost half the Latin American planners surveyed (43 percent) and roughly a third of the Asia-Pacific planners (36 percent) either meet in secondary cities or are planning to move their events to second-tier destinations in 2012.