We keep seeing small signs that the current economic downturn is turning the corner. Reviewing the results and trends of event planning conferences in 2011 we are seeing that there is a degree of optimism for the year ahead. What the meetings and events industry is now realizing is that it is becoming part of the solution rather than simply just a cost to businesses. With the European Union still in economic turmoil, I do want to caution that we are by no means out of the woods. Yet it is refreshing to see this optimism.
What Can You Take Away from Event Planning Conferences in 2011
According to a 2011 industry trends and market share report from EIBTM (Exhibition for the Incentive Business Travel and Meetings) there is a greater degree of optimism within the meetings and events industry than the economy as a whole. According to the report, conference event planning will continue to grow and should approach 2008 levels by the end of 2012. The report also states that demand for meetings venues will rise faster in 2012 than it was in 2011.
A trend that we saw in 2011 and is expected to continue in 2012 is that the price differential between second and third tier cities will continue to widen. This means that there will be more opportunities for second and third tier cities. This will certainly come as good news to anyone planning an event or conference and is flexible on the location.
Associations revenues (which are achieved largely from their conferences and exhibitions) are expected to remain stable. However levels of sponsorship are expected to
increase over 2011. Definitely a welcome sign for many association management companies.
We’re also starting to hear the term BRIC. BRIC stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China. On a global level BRIC’s economies will be in the spotlight as they’re expected to be the economic workhorses of 2012. So don’t be surprised if you start seeing some of your conference locations ending up in one of these countries. And for meeting planners that have clients in any one of these countries they should see strong business growth.
So we’re definitely still very much in recovery mode in most parts of the world. However, the take away good news from event planning conferences in 2011 is that we are also very much in a growth period. There will be challenges ahead for meeting planners and their clients in 2012 as we keep hearing that budgets will remain front and center. But at the same time that we’re hearing about budgets we’re also hearing that many meetings, whether they be corporate, incentive or association management, are going ahead as planned. It’s also nice to see that the meetings and events industry is a major player in the economic recovery.