Creativity is replacing uncertainty as a top concern for meeting planners, according to Meeting Professionals International (MPI), which yesterday released the results of its latest MPI Business Barometer, citing innovation of format and content delivery as a major meetings industry trend, along with hybrid and virtual meetings and rapid technology innovation.
“Employment continues to improve in the global meeting industry, as do economic conditions,” reads the executive summary of MPI’s 2013 Quarter 3 Business Barometer. “With the exception of a few specific locations, marketplace uncertainty is giving way to the need to and more creative and efficient ways to deliver great experiences. Meeting professionals are turning to better uses of technology, more creative event and session formats and a better understanding of emerging tools in order to enhance attendee experiences.”
According to MPI, Europe has seen a 1.5 percent increase in meetings business over the last 12 months, but predicts a 3.6 percent increase in the coming year. The United States, meanwhile, has seen a 2.7 percent increase in the last 12 months, but predicts a 4 percent increase into 2014.
Other notable findings:
• International corporate business is the greatest source of new activity in Europe.
• Domestic association business is on the rise in the United States.
• Globally, government meetings continue to decline due to austerity measures in Europe and the United States.
• After several years of growth, virtual and hybrid additions and alternatives are becoming mainstream.
• Many past budget cuts remain in place in the corporate and association sectors.
• Usage of apps and social media continue to expand.
• Delayed decision making means many corporations continue to have very short lead times — sometimes as short as two weeks — although many organizations are being forced to lengthen their planning period due to reduced inventory.