According to FutureWatch 2005, an annual survey conducted by MPI and American Express and announced at MPI's Professional Education Conference in January, “full strategic sourcing” is a huge growth area in the meeting industry. Among the findings:

  • 57 percent of planner respondents have fully implemented or will implement meeting purchasing policies and procedures;

  • 54 percent have fully standardized or will standardize purchasing channels;

  • 50 percent currently or will soon have preferred supplier programs;

  • and 48 percent have currently or will soon implement technology solutions for meeting planning.

Meeting planners surveyed were also bullish in projecting their '05 budgets, forecasting a 5 percent budget increase in 2005, building on a 3 percent increase in 2004. Corporate planners report average budgets of $7.1 million vs. last year's $5.3 million.