The meeting industry is expected to grow for a fourth consecutive year, signaling an economy that continues to be strong, according to FutureWatch 2000 in a study sponsored by Meeting Professionals International and American Express.
According to the survey, planners expect to manage more meetings in 2007 and expect to see larger budgets in dollars and as a percentage of the total organizational or company budgets. Budgets are expected to increase by 21% for association planners and 18% for corporations, while spend per meeting is expected to increase by 8% and 4%, respectively.
This year’s report showed movement toward a more centralized function, with 54% of corporate planners saying their meetings were mostly or completely centralized across the organization. The study procurement or purchasing departments are playing a more active role in purchasing decisions for meetings within many organizations, with 30% of corporate and government planners saying procurement plays a major part in their purchasing decisions.
The impact of war and terrorism on business travel has surged ahead of all other concerns, with 38% citing them as major concerns.
Behind terrorism and war (the top concern), increasing costs are expected to have the greatest impact on the industry. This is led by the cost of oil and gas, followed by general inflation.
Globalization is on the rise in all areas of the meetings industry. Client-side planners, meetings management and services companies, and especially hotel and resort companies expect to increase their global presence in 2007. Similar to the 2006 study, client-side planners are predicting little change in the number of meetings they will outsource in 2007.