EIBTM's new "European Meetings and Incentive Report," published in conjunction with the Mintel International Group, shows that two different trends for corporate and association meetings have emerged in Europe. Businesses are holding smaller and shorter events due to financial constraints and the international climate of uncertainty. On the positive side, the report finds that the average number of delegates attending association meetings and conferences is increasing. The average number of delegates per event now stands at 815, compared to 638 nine years ago.

Other key findings:

  • There is a rise in niche-knowledge and specialist conferences; training needs are also becoming more specialized.

  • The trend toward more business-like events with the emphasis on work and results is continuing.

  • The incentive market is still not showing signs of growth in the long-haul market, although the number of companies providing either domestic or European incentives is on the increase.

  • The world economic slowdown has had little impact so far on conference facility infrastructure and renovation investment.

The report also looked at technology trends:

  • Internet search engines are increasingly being used to identify venues.

  • Virtual conferencing is increasing in popularity as a cheaper alternative to traditional forms of meetings.

The report was conducted by Philip Alford, senior lecturer, the University of Luton Business School, where he is also a member of its International Tourism Research Centre. Alford will report his findings at EIBTM 2002, to be held May 21 to 23 in Geneva.