“Conservative” describes 290 international travel managers' expectations for the growth in group size (1 to 4 percent) and spending per attendee (5 percent) in 2012. The length of meetings in 2012 will remain stable, at just under three days. The proportion of meetings being held in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will decline from 40 percent in the last half of 2011 to 30 percent in the first half of 2012, and remains below 2008 levels.

“Innovative” relates to a few areas where CWT sees increasing focus in 2012:

Strategic Meetings ManagementMore companies are undergoing enterprise-wide consolidation of sourcing, according to the report. It also finds companies decreasing the number of outsourcing partners to just a handful from 50 to 70 suppliers and creating meeting policies that include the use of preferred suppliers, standardized contracts, and detailed reporting.

Hybrid EventsThe report concludes that “large-scale virtual arrangements are growing in importance for events that previously required all participants to be physically present.”

Interactive Formats—The use of social media, networking, and mobile apps will grow, allowing organizers to build content and engage participants before, during, and after an event.

Sustainable EventsThe report points to the release of the APEX green meeting standards and the new ISO2012 standard for international event sustainability management as major milestones in 2012.

The 2012 Travel Management Priorities report was based on an international survey of 290 travel managers. Twenty-two percent of the travel managers surveyed ranked tackling meetings and events as a priority for 2012. Other, higher priorities for the respondents included air capacity, business travel, and hotel occupancy.

However, concluded CWT, “The meetings figure is significant considering that M&E responsibilities are typically dispersed across organizations rather than centralized within travel management departments.”

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