Held in Barcelona in early December, the 2009 European Incentive, Business Travel, and Meetings exhibition had a record 3,791 hosted buyers at the show, driving total attendance up to an as-yet unofficial 8,000 visitors and exhibitors.

Released at the show was the EIBTM 2009 Industry Trends and Market Share Report, written by EIBTM Industry Analyst Rob Davidson, senior lecturer at the University of Westminster, England. An analysis of more than two-dozen reports and studies, the paper provides an overview of the economic situation by country and by industry. Davidson then considers recent statistics and trends regarding meetings in various countries and segments, and then synthesizes everything to arrive at an outlook for global meetings and events.

The outlook: “uncertain.”

Among the trends identified for corporate meetings in the report are: shorter lead times, more focus on price and comparison shopping, an increase in one-day events, and a reduction in the number of suppliers with the aim of gaining negotiating leverage.

Interestingly, the report notes that association meetings have held up better than those of corporations. Davidson cites the Meeting Professionals International/American Express August 2009 Business Barometer, in which supplier respondents reported domestic associations were a bright spot, with net growth in meetings business of 13 percent over the previous year. International associations had a net growth of 4 percent. (The trend has in fact continued since the EIBTM report was released. MPI’s October 2009 Business Barometer reported meeting activity from domestic associations marking a net increase of 19 percent and international associations recording a net increase of 6 percent.) In addition, Davidson cites Benchmark Hospitality International’s 2009 Top 10 Meeting Trends, released in the first quarter of the year, which showed meeting demand growth from government, military, education, religious, and state associations.

EIBTM 2010 takes place in Barcelona November 30 to December 2.