Meetings are expected to play a critical role in a return to business fundamentals in 2015, according to the American Express Meetings & Events 2015 Global Meetings Forecast released in October.

Following a period of economic recovery for the meetings industry, global meeting budgets in 2015 are likely to show positive movement, either through growth or less of a decline than was seen previously.

In Europe, meeting activity predictions from survey respondents generally mirrors the current economic situation of the individual countries.

Across Europe, an incremental decline in the number of attendees in nearly all meeting types is predicted. Germany and the United Kingdom, two regions with positive predictions in the 2014 forecast, are expecting slight declines in attendees across the board in the coming year, while Spain and France are seeing smaller declines predicted for 2015, compared to previous years.

Doing more with less is the mantra of most meeting owners, and their 2015 budgets reflect that. Spain is the front-runner when it comes to meeting length, where incentives and special events last on average almost five days, nearly two days longer than the European average.

Meeting activity in Asia Pacific is more varied, surging ahead in some countries and softening in others. The Chinese mainland continues to experience strong demand as a destination and healthy growth in the number of meetings, while in Australia some meeting cancellations are contributing to a slowdown. A similar softening seems to be underway in Hong Kong.

Across the region, attendee levels range from stable to moderately reduced, and meeting owners are leaning toward fewer and shorter meetings overall, freeing up resources to spend on marquee events. More than 85 per cent of meetings and events in Asia and 94 percent of those in Australia are expected to take place in large cities in 2015.

In North America, a slight 0.3 per cent increase in meetings activity is expected in 2015. Meetings have reduced in size over the past few years and there is a continued push to stay close to home in order to maximise attendance figures.

Training meetings lead the pack in North America in terms of growth in number of meetings, and in regard to meeting length; the findings revealed that incentive and special events were reported to be the longest meeting by category, followed by conferences.

Central and South American respondents see meeting activity remaining much the same in 2015 as predicted for 2014, but are expected to make the most significant adjustments.

Like North America, training meetings appear to be ‘coming back’ in 2015, with the largest increase of 2.4 per cent predicted, followed by incentive and special events at 1.3 per cent.

The dominant effect of the recent FIFA World Cup in Brazil is expected to continue through the 2016 global sporting event in Rio de Janeiro. In addition, respondents are predicting a rise in the share of meetings in large cities from 65 percent in 2014 to 72 percent in 2015.

Below are high-level snapshots of the key 2015 predictions based on a survey of meetings professionals in each region.


Survey Highlights: Regional Meetings Professional Predictions


Prediction North America Europe Asia Pacific Central/South America
Number of Meetings


+0.3% +0.4% +2.1% +0.1%
Number of Attendees per meeting


+0.2% -1.0% +1.3% -0.5%
Days per Meeting


2.3 2.2 4.0 2.4
Overall meeting spend within organization


+0.3% -0.7% +0.2% +0.9%
Group Hotel Prices


+4.6% +1.1% +4.3% +2.3%

The forecast reveals that in North America, Orlando, Florida slipped to second place this year, with Chicago, Illinois ranking as the number one meeting destination choice among meeting planners.

In Central and South America, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the Riviera Maya/ Cancun region in Mexico retained the top two spots for meetings and events.

In Europe, all top four cities, including London, UK; Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, have retained spots from last year’s forecast.

In Asia Pacific, Singapore took the top spot from Shanghai, China, which ranked number one in 2014.


Survey Highlights: Predicted Change in Number of Meetings by Meeting Type


North America Europe Asia Pacific Central/South America
Sales/Marketing


+0.5% +0.2% +1.1% -1.2%
Training


+0.9% +0.1% +1.0% +2.4%
Internal Team Meeting


0.0% +0.5% +1.9% +0.4%
Product Launch (Internal/External)


0.0% 0.0% +0.6% -0.5%
Conferences/Tradeshows


+0.1% +0.4% +0.9% -1.1%
Senior Leadership Meeting/Board Meeting


+0.7% +0.5% +2.0% -0.2%
Advisory Board


+0.5% +1.2% +0.2% -0.7%
Incentive/Special Events


-0.2% 0.0% +0.7% +1.3%

 

For more information about American Express Meetings & Events, visit: www.amexglobalbusinesstravel.com/meetings-and-events or contact Andrew Roberts, Manager, Business Development – Australia, on +61 2 9271 4438 or andrew.roberts@aexp.com

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