by Vincent Alonzo | December 01, 2016
Recently, Successful Meetings sent a survey out to our readership asking them to tell us what they felt were the most important trends that would be impacting the meetings industry in 2017. Of the respondents 45 percent were corporate planners, 35 percent worked for associations, and 20 percent were independent or third party planners. Of that pool, 68 percent reported that providing quality meetings on limited budgets was their most important issue for 2017. Here's what else they had to say.

Issues that planners feel will be important to planning effective meetings in 2017


Providing quality meetings on limited budgets: 68%
Keeping up with the evolution of meetings technology: 60%
Proving ROI for meetings: 54%
Negotiating with suppliers: 49%
Creating compelling meeting content: 48%
Managing safety and security risks associated with meetings: 43%
Issues affecting site selection of destinations: 38%
Issues affecting site selection of properties: 36%
Changes in the airline industry: 25%
Providing options that help attendees live healthy lifestyles at meetings: 22%
The need to incorporate sustainable practices into your meetings: 16%


Most difficult technology challenges facing meetings in 2017


Choosing technology that will improve the quality of meetings: 59%
Getting enough WiFi bandwidth to meet the needs of attendees: 55%
Getting attendees on-site to use the social media tools: 40%
Ability to get enough WiFi bandwidth to deliver the content of your meetings: 38%
Figuring out how to effectively integrate that technology into your meetings: 37%
Developing an effective social media strategy for promoting your meetings: 35%
Interpreting data from apps and other technology tools to measure event ROI: 30%
Ability to develop virtual meeting offerings for your attendees: 25%


Most difficult challenges in dealing with the hospitality industry in 2017

Negotiating quality F&B that stays within budget: 60%
Negotiating room block rates: 57%
Negotiating meeting room rates: 41%
Lead-time as it pertains to room block availability: 40%
Lead-time as it pertains to meeting space availability: 36%
Consolidation in the hospitality industry: 35%
Working with suppliers to create compelling meeting environments: 30%
Providing options that help attendees live healthy lifestyles at meetings: 15%
Emergence of room block disrupters such as Airbnb: 12%
Reducing your event's carbon footprint on-site: 10%


Most difficult challenges in dealing with the airline industry in 2017? 

Negotiating affordable airfares for attendees: 48%
Finding adequate airlift: 41%
Consolidation in the airline industry: 30%
Infrastructure problems at domestic airports: 27%
Quality of the check-in experience for the attendees: 27%
Quality of the inflight experience for the attendees: 19%
Infrastructure problems at international airports: 17%


Overall, will 2017 be a buyer's or a seller's market? (Check all that apply)

Seller's market: 44%
Still a seller's market, but transitioning to a buyer's market: 44%
Buyer's market: 12%


Buyer's or a seller's market, by category

(buyer's market / seller's market / transitioning market, seller's to buyer's / transitioning market, buyer's to seller's)

Hotel rooms: 19% / 51% / 27% / 3%
Meeting rooms: 18% / 56% / 25% / 2%
Airfare: 11% / 72% / 15% / 2%
Ground transportation/ 32% / 46% / 20% / 2%
F&B costs: 9% / 70% / 18% / 3%
Audio/Visual costs: 15% / 70% / 14% / 1%
WiFi costs: 14% / 60% / 23% / 3%
Meetings technology: 21% / 53% / 21% / 5%
On-site activities: 32% / 47% / 19% / 2%
Off-site activities: 43% / 36% / 19% / 2%
Off-site special event venues: 35% / 44% / 20% / 1%


Most difficult challenges in creating meetings content in 2017

Creating meeting environments that are conducive to learning: 54%
Creating compelling meeting content: 49%
Getting quality speakers and presenters: 47%
Getting attendees to embrace apps and second screen technologies: 45%
Getting adequate WiFi bandwidth meetings content: 38%
Developing virtual meeting offerings for attendees: 29%
Providing attendees healthy lifestyle options at meetings: 10%


How will 2017 meetings budgets compare to 2016?

Decrease significantly: 4%
Decrease slightly: 18%
No change: 43%
Increase slightly: 31%
Increase significantly: 3%


How will the number of meetings in 2017 compare with 2016?

(more / less / unchanged)

Sales meetings: 35% / 21% / 44%
Training meetings: 43% / 10% / 47%
Trade shows: 19% / 21% / 60%
Consumer/marketing events: 24% / 17% / 59%
Incentives: 17% / 19% / 64% 
Association meetings: 27% / 14% / 59%
Virtual meetings: 51% / 7% / 42%
Hybrid meetings: 38% / 8% / 54%


Top cost-cutting measures for 2017


Reducing the food & beverage budget: 56%
Booking lower tier hotels: 31%
Offering fewer optional activities: 29%
Avoiding resort/beach destinations: 24%
Eliminating all optional activities: 17%