The American Express Meetings & Events 2017 Global Meetings Forecast (‘the Forecast’) is predicting a drop in number of meetings held in the UK and variations in European meetings and events activity, size and length over the next year as the continent faces its share of global political and economic uncertainty.
Meetings budgets across Europe are expected to remain flat in 2017, with some variation between countries: while respondents in Germany are most optimistic, expecting a 3.3% increase in meeting spend, in France a decrease in spend of -1.2% is expected.
Now in its sixth year, the Forecast shows that, when it comes to meeting numbers in Europe, there’s a shift away from the upward trend of the last two years, with survey respondents expecting overall decreases in the number of meetings across most meeting types for 2017.
UK respondents expect a decrease in several meeting types, such as incentive and special events and senior leadership meetings, while respondents from Germany and France have more optimistic outlook, anticipating increases in internal meeting activity. Internal meetings and training meetings top the list of meetings type activity in nearly all countries.
Jose Antonio Ruiz Collado (pictured), EMEA vice-president, American Express Meetings & Events, said: “A sense of caution underpins meetings and events activity in Europe for 2017. However, even as budgets remain flat, European meetings professionals are demonstrating their creativity in delivering the greatest possible value from meetings activity. Second-tier cities and unique venues are growing in popularity, as are smaller meetings, held closer to home. This points to a trend for 2017 of European meetings professionals focusing on quality over quantity.”
As in previous years, respondents across the globe are expecting average group hotel rates to continue to rise, with survey respondents in Europe predicting increases at the smaller end of the scale. Respondents from the UK anticipate the highest increase, at 2.7%, followed by Germany and Spain at 2%. London sees the greatest activity in Europe in terms of 2017 hotel openings, with 24 new hotels, followed by Hamburg with 16 and Moscow with 11.