by Leo Jakobson | September 07, 2017
Hotel and airline prices will be higher next year, with the Asia-Pacific region and Europe leading the pack -- and those rising costs will have an impact on several top international destinations including London, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Those were some of the findings laid out in the "2018 Meetings and Events Future Trends" report released by CWT Meetings & Events on Sept. 7. 

"Costs are rising in key meeting and events markets, globally," said Cindy Fisher, senior vice president and global head of CWT M&E, a division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, in a statement. "With a 3.7 percent increase in hotels and 3.5 percent rise in air fares projected for the coming year, that trend is likely to continue."

At the same time, a projected capacity growth of 7 percent this year and 6 percent in 2018, combined with more low-fare options like basic economy class, will broaden the appeal of travel, the report stated. 

In the U.S. and Canada, the meetings, events, incentive, and conventions (MICE) market saw a 3 percent increase in the cost per attendee per day this year, and both hotel and air prices can be expected to rise by 2.5 percent in 2018. And with leisure travel growing, corporate group buyers may see room block availability become more limited, CWT M&E reports.

In Latin America, the cost per attendee for meetings and events only grew 1 percent this year, while hotel and venue costs will grow 2 percent in 2018. Popular destinations like Mexico and Colombia -- where large-scale hotel developments in cities like Medellin are improving options for U.S. groups -- will see higher prices, in the 3 percent to 5 percent range.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will see a 4 percent cost-per-attendee-per-day increase in 2018, with Italy and Portugal becoming more popular while new destinations like Bordeaux and Toulouse in France and Palma de Mallorca in Spain are seeing more interest from the incentive market. 

That said, CWT M&E predicts that safety and security concerns will take a number of EMEA countries off the list, while specific cities that have endured terrorist attacks will see a negative impact, at least in the short term.

The Asia-Pacific region saw a 5 percent increase in the cost per attendee per day for meetings and events in 2017, and will see hotel prices rise 3.5 percent and airfares 2.8 percent next year, the report said. In China, the impact of the rapidly growing hotel room stock will be offset by growing demand from the business and leisure travel markets. 

Singapore, with a large selection of venues and excellent air links, will remain a top meetings and events destination, CWT M&E said, while South Korea and Vietnam are seeing growing popularity. This is particularly true for Pyeongchang, South Korea, which is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics.