Travel management platform CWT is forecasting an 8 percent increase in MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) travel in 2020 despite Brexit confusion, trade conflicts, climate change and geopolitical instability.
According to the 2020 Future Trends Report published recently by CWT’s global meetings and events division – CWT M&E, the 840-billion- dollar industry is slated for growth into the new year driven by increased demand for live events. Up to 30 percent of marketing budgets have been set aside for live events in 2020.
“The need for live events is becoming more relevant than ever before,” said Kurt Ekert, CWT president and CEO. “Face-to-face meetings are critical to establishing connections between brands and their customers, and employees and their companies, especially during times of uncertainty. Knowing how to manage risks globally while putting together an authentic and measurable experience for all participants will be key for success in this space in the coming year and beyond.”
Digitalization, demographics, authenticity and global programs are, according to the report, the four key areas expected to stimulate industry growth.
More specifically, the CWT points to digitalization as a key driver of MICE events noting that the creation of event websites is up by 52 percent year-over-year as more clients utilize these to drive increased engagement. Other ‘digital drivers’ include mobile devices and event apps. The number of event participants downloading apps up from 50 percent in 2017 to 74 percent year-to-date in 2019.
CWT M&E analysts go on to add that changing demographics will be driving digitalization as millennials evolve into the largest group of business travelers from 2024 onwards.
At the same time, the report found that the trend is now towards authentic experiences and immersive travel with all the more travelers focusing on environmentally responsible incentives in view of climate change.
Lastly, new technologies including artificial intelligence and bots will be used by organizers as innovative tools to derive more visibility and real-time data and feedback.