The latest business barometer from Meeting Professionals International demonstrates the impact that even a slight uptick in the economy is having on the industry. Among its findings:
- Employment numbers jumped sharply (up 65 percent) compared to a year ago. This is true more so in the United States and Europe than in Canada.
- Event attendance is up slightly in all three regions.
- Corporate business is up, with meetings focusing on customer satisfaction rather than sales incentives.
- The United States is seeing the greatest gains in corporate domestic meetings, while Europe and Canada are seeing the largest gains in international association meetings.
The industry, overall, is still concerned with economic stability in the United States and throughout Europe, said the MPI report, which included this comment: “Companies intend to commit, but even the slightest downturn in their business makes them retrench, and decisions take a lot longer to achieve.”
Value, it seems, is key. “People want more value and will continue to pay for high-end events when they perceive that value,” the report found.
Budgets across the board are taking a hit from higher food and beverage costs. The result: Significant cutbacks in F&B offerings, with voucher and coupon plans being put in place and “thinner” buffets (expecting to run out of food with the last person) becoming more common.
Finally, shorter lead times are becoming the rule rather than the exception.