Last week at the Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition (AIBTM) in Baltimore, organizer Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) released its first report on the American meetings market. The results: Economics continue to influence U.S. groups, a surprising number of which are organizing events abroad.
RTE surveyed 327 American meeting professionals who organized more than 6,660 events, ranging from conferences to exhibitions. Key findings:
• Although most U.S. business stays in the United States, over 40 percent of planners have organized events in Europe and 22 percent in Asia.
• Over half of respondents indicated that the volume of events produced in the United States will grow over the next 12 months, although planners are still being asked to do more with less.
• Over 82 percent of respondents use social media to communicate before, during and after a meeting.
• The most popular European destinations for U.S. planners are Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. In the Americas, top destinations are the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
• The key issues that will have the most impact on increasing meetings and events business in the future, according to U.S. planners, are economic conditions, budgets, rates and prices, the introduction of new value destinations, and politics.
"This first U.S. research highlights how there is a need for destinations to work harder in order to achieve business from the U.S. outbound," said Craig Moyes, portfolio director for RTE's IBTM Global Events Portfolio. "Whilst it's clear buyers and planners are looking for the safety of closer to home, it shows that they are prepared to go to the more 'traditional destinations,' as well, and are looking to also try new places that are perceived as value for money, to help their budgets do more."