Planners and suppliers have looked to the future—and have seen different visions.
North American and European planners project an overall average budget decrease of 1.1 percent in 2003 and 1 percent average growth in the number of planned meetings. But suppliers forecast a 6 percent average increase in meeting revenue and the number of meetings they will host. The findings were reported this week in FutureWatch 2003, an industry report from Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and American Express that side-by-side compares buyer and seller data.
Planners and suppliers are also clashing about flexible cancellation andclauses, the survey reveals. Nearly one-third of respondents ranked relaxation of cancellation and attrition clauses as the most significant operational trend for 2003. But 15 percent of suppliers placed relatively low priority (fourth out of four options) on becoming less stringent with cancellation and attrition clauses, behind choosing more flexible pricing, additional incentives or personal service to better help planners in 2003.
The survey also revealed that:
o Independent planners will have the largest budgets in 2003 with an average of more than $4.8 million in annual spending, nearly $800,000 more than the average budget for corporate planners.
o Primary markets will continue to dominate as hosts for major meetings, but about 9 percent of planners overall expect to increase use of secondary, regional, and domestic markets.
o U.S. and Canada planner venues of choice are resorts or city hotels (62 percent), while Europeans favor city hotels or convention centers (54 percent).
Association Insights, an independent market research firm, conducted the research for FutureWatch 2003. Approximately 15,500 MPI members were invited to participate via email, to which more than 13 percent of suppliers (1,130) and 18 percent of planners (1,340) responded.