Trends report says value and service are key

Emerging markets will account for half of global GDP by 2010 and the international meetings industry needs to broaden its scope as it seeks value and opportunity in “a challenging environment”.

These were key messages delivered by University of Westminster senior lecturer and CN columnist Rob Davidson in his annual EIBTM 2009 Trends and market share report. The survey provides a synopsis of meetings industry research over the past 12 months and was delivered at EIBTM in Barcelona.

“The more the industry does to promote itself as excellent value, with no compromise in quality, the more likely it is to emerge stronger than before,” Davidson said.

The industry is turning to technological solutions as corporate meetings and events continue to take the heaviest hit in the sector worldwide.

Davidson identified a greater use of alternative meeting methods, including webinars, videoconferencing as buyers seek to cut costs.

With corporate profits falling in most countries, the meetings industry has come under increasing pressure to deliver both value and savings, said Davidson.

He described 2009 as “one of the most difficult years”, with lead times becoming ever shorter and clients jettisoning loyalty to shop around suppliers for services.

Davidson identified a trend for greater use of one-day events to reduce overnight stays and said it was still very much a buyer´s market.

In terms of regional variations, Europe was maintaining its lead as far as hosting international association meetings, with the US remaining the number one country for these conferences.

“China´s potential as an expanding and lucrative market for other counties has made it a prime target for marketing efforts,” Davidson noted, pointing also to the broad-based rebound in business confidence in the BRIC countries.

The economic downturn had not significantly reduced the appetite for environmental initiatives and CSR, however, with Davidson´s report claiming “a growing interest in the potential for industry to leave a social legacy in the destinations it uses”.

Davidson detected a more positive general outlook for the New Year, with more organisations reporting signs of increased bookings.

The full research document is downloadable from www.eitbtm.com from 3 December.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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