2015 is shaping up to be a good year for the meetings industry, according to the just-released American Express Meetings & Events 2015 Global Meetings Forecast.
“The meeting industry overall appears to be very much ‘back in business’, in particular as a key component of sales and marketing strategies for many organizations,” said Issa Jouaneh, vice-president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events. “The last few years have given focus to meetings and events in a way that has driven a more disciplined approach around approvals processes, increased scrutiny on spend and a larger focus around accountability and expected outcomes for meetings.”
The Forecast 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.
Key findings for the North American meetings industry include:
- +0.3% growth in the number of meetings
- +0.2% growth in number of attendees
- average meeting length of 2.3 days
- +0.3% increase in meeting spend within organizations
- +4.6% rise in group hotel prices
In terms of meeting types, the North American market is forecast to see increases in five defined segments: sales & marketing (+0.5%); training (+0.9%); conferences/tradeshows (+0.1%); senior leadership meeting/board meeting (+0.7%); advisory board (+0.5%). Growth will be flat in the internal team meeting and product launch categories, and the incentive/special events category will see a slight decline (-0.2%).
The top five meeting destinations by region are:
- North America: Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas, Atlanta and San Diego.
- Europe: London, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin.
- Asia Pacific: Singapore, Hong Kong/Macau, Shanghai, Sydney and Bali.
- Central/South America: Rio de Janeiro, Riviera Maya/Cancun, Ciudad de Panama, Sao Paulo and Cartagena de Indias/Bogotá.
The Forecast also outlines four areas that are top-of-mind for 2015 meetings and events. They are:
- Empowering Digital Event Solutions (attendee management, event mobile applications, social media solutions and hybrid meeting solutions)
- Planning Meetings & Events in Emerging Countries (issues include security, technology, transportation, food & beverage and payments)
- The Benefits of Attendee Travel Management (integrating travel planning with meetings management)
- Event Production Trends and Insights (technology and the role of mobile apps, etc.)