|2013 Meetings & Events: Asia Pacific to lead in growth & spend.|
Thursday, 20th December 2012
Source : AMEX 2013 Global Meetings Forecast
According to the American Express Meetings & Events 2013 Global Meetings Forecast, Asia Pacific, with its relatively strong economy, is likely to see the strongest growth among regions in both spending and the number of meetings.
In North America, economic uncertainty is expected to keep those categories relatively flat, while Europe will likely experience declines as it continues to face a currency crisis and, due to political instability in some markets, Central/South America is also expected to see slight declines overall, especially in spend.
For the Asia Pacific region, the research reveals predictions for a growth in meeting activity (6.4%), overall meeting spend (4.2%) and number of attendees per meeting (5.0%).
The findings are based on a comprehensive survey, extensive meetings and events data, and in-depth interviews of meetings professionals – including planners, buyers and hotel suppliers from around the world – conducted by American Express Meetings & Events.
The Forecast examines predictions regarding budget, spend, the number of meetings, lead times and other meetings-specific metrics by geographic market. It also provides insight into key trends in meeting planning for 2013, and explores some of the key tactics meeting planners are using to reduce costs and improve program efficiency.
“Companies consider meetings and events to be a key strategy to driving revenue growth and change management, but acknowledge that they are proceeding with caution in a challenging global economy,” said Issa Jouaneh, Vice President and General Manager, American Express Meetings & Events.
“While Asia Pacific is likely to experience growth in 2013, as Europe sees declines, meeting professionals in every region point to budget challenges and the need to ascertain their companies’ own financial performance before they make investments in meetings as top influencers of their programs,” continued Jouaneh. “As a result, one of the top emerging trends in the space is the shift to more local meetings. Meetings professionals are also preparing for group hotel and air expenses to rise next year.”
“As Asia Pacific continues to experience a strong economic performance and companies in the region grow in size, meetings and events activity is still in demand. Our research reveals Asia Pacific to be the most optimistic of all regions regarding 2013 meetings and events plans,” said Danielle Puceta, Director, American Express Meetings & Events, Asia Pacific.
“However, we still see some cautious sentiment. Budget predictions for individual meetings indicate minimal growth, and concerns around security or safety seem to be the biggest influence over the choice of meeting destination for 2013. Companies in the region will therefore remain highly focused on gaining clarity around spend, ensuring transparency as to why their organisations are holding meetings and who is attending them, and measuring the degree to which their meetings objectives have been achieved.”
Below are high-level snapshots of the key predictions made by meetings professionals in each region.
Survey Highlights: Regional Meetings Professional Predictions
1) Average of Eastern and Western European predictions
2) Average of Central and South American predictions
Global Meeting Planning Trends
The Forecast also explores several challenges meeting planners are facing as they look to 2013, and identifies four distinct trends that are common across all markets:
1) Budget Challenges Mean More Local Meetings – To maintain current levels of meetings activity in an environment where budgets are likely not growing in step with costs, many companies are transitioning from global to national or from national to regional locations for more meetings. Also, there is a trend of holding meetings in unique destinations such as restaurants or aquariums for potential additional savings.
2) Security and Stability Impacting Destination Choice – A continued emphasis on duty of care is translating to a focus on safety and security amidst potential political instability when planning a meeting in 2013. Suppliers indicated that this can sometimes be an advantage; for instance, some major hotel brands located in regions with political instability said they are often chosen based on the perception amongst meeting planners that they offer a more consistent, higher level of security.
3) Meetings Approvals Becoming More Challenging – A significant portion of meeting planners in all regions indicated that gaining approvals for their meetings is becoming at least slightly more difficult. In addition, there is an emerging trend of meetings budgets not being approved until companies’ latest financial data is available. This dynamic is putting even more pressure on already reduced lead times and can negatively impact hotel negotiations, potentially leading to higher costs.
4) Increasing Engagement Via Social Media – Meeting planners are responding to the expectations of today’s meeting attendees by employing social media to increase the value of events throughout their lifecycle. Leading up to events, planners are using social media to connect with attendees and to connect attendees to one another so they can maximise their time at an event. During events, social media is being used to drive even deeper connections and more immersive education sessions, presentation Q&A and other activities. After events, social media is also being used to extend event communities and foster connections made during events.
This year, the Forecast is accompanied by three special sections that explore key tactics meeting planners are using to reduce costs and improve program effectiveness, including meetings payments, electronic requests for proposals, andvirtual meetings.
To request a complimentary copy of the Forecast, please visit the American Express Meetings & Events Resource Center at www.americanexpress.com/meetingsandevents