ibtm events’ annual ibtm world Trends Watch report has predicted growth for the global MICE industry in 2017, despite the turbulent geopolitical and economic environment.
The 12th edition of the report, authored by Dr. Rob Davidson, managing director of MICE Knowledge, and released at the company’s flagship show, ibtm world in Barcelona, makes forecasts for the industry’s performance in 2017 and analyses the major trends in the global MICE industry for 2016. The report is a concise synthesis of over 20 sources of current data, including surveys with some of the industry’s leading lights.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Davidson said: “Given this year’s political rollercoaster, with the result of the EU referendum and the US election, there is a strong probability that in 2017 our industry will be once more obliged to show that it is capable of prospering in the face of new challenges, some of them as yet unknown. We are much better placed to respond to these challenges now than at any other time in our history, as our industry is now robustly underpinned by widespread professionalism and a sound education and training system that supports the industry’s existing and future professionals.”
Pointing to a quiet optimism towards global economic performance from most forecasters, Dr. Davidson’s analysis predicts that cost per attendee per day, as well as group sizes, will increase in almost all world regions. In the US, there is growing expectation that 2017 will bring a change in the balance of power from sellers to buyers, in terms of corporate and contract rate negotiations between hotels and planners and this may well be seen further afield.
Reviewing key trends from 2016, Dr. Davidson stated: “The meetings and events industry has seen global growth in 2016, with increasing demand for our services and facilities as well as, in many world regions, increased budgets.
“Growing uncertainty as a result of unexpected polling results, rising protectionist and populist sentiments and geopolitical and social turmoil led to disparity in the industry’s performance regionally. For example, India and China have seen demand from buyers at record levels, despite the slowing growth of the Chinese economy. The US has also seen hotels and venues able to negotiate favourable rates in response to the country’s strengthening economy.
“Europe has seen a more mixed performance. Demand for meetings and events has grown in 2016, despite fairly flat national economic performances. This is balanced out as a result of companies being more prudent about spend and therefore not travelling too far afield for meetings and using more mid-scale venues. On a positive note, Europe has been extremely successful in winning conferences of international associations with over half of the top cities and countries selected as destinations for international association conferences being in the region.”
Kerry Prince, the new portfolio director and ibtm events, responded to the findings positively, saying: “Post-show analysis from the ibtm events’ global portfolio supports Rob’s findings, with international exhibitor numbers up year-on-year across the portfolio, including most notably up 45% at ibtm china, and increase of 20% at ibtm arabia and an incredible rise of 165% compared to 2015 at ibtm latin america.
“As a result, more connections were made at ibtm events in 2016 than ever before, with over 100,000 pre-scheduled appointments booked across the events and 2017 gearing up to be a success for the company despite a challenging economic, social and political landscape.”