It started last week when I was spending some time on Twitter. I noticed that conference and event manager Karen Brown (whom both Cvent and I follow) had sent this message: "FINALLY sending out new RFPs for 2010 and 2011."
Great news, but I didn't think much of it. That is, until I kept seeing this topic pop up again and again in articles and industry reports. No longer was it all doom and gloom, canceled conferences and low attendance in the world of meetings and events. Rather, news coverage revolved around something positive: meetings are picking up for 2010.
An article in Boston Business Journal featured interviews with industry leaders who have started to see signs of improvement in meetings business and are optimistic about the coming months.
"Starting in December through March, we definitely were holding our collective breath, but coming into May it seemed like people started coming back and spending money again," Jimmy Callanan, president and owner of JCALPRO, Inc., which handles rigging and logistics support for several Boston venues, told BBJ.
Michelle Ray, director of sales at the Four Seasons Boston, agreed that despite recent challenges, things are looking up.
"The good news is that we are seeing strong levels of business for 2010," Ray said. "Companies recognize the value of face-to-face meetings both for relationship-building and productivity."
The meetings environment in Boston is not surprising. In fact, meeting planners across the country are anticipating a pick up in events in 2010 and beyond.
According to Special Events Magazine's 8th annual Corporate Event Marketplace Study, corporate event professionals say they expect to host the same number of events or more in 2010 as compared to 2009. These events range from incentive trips to marketing events to product launches.
Don't get me wrong—the challenges of the past year have not gone away, nor should they be forgotten. Still, it's great to see some positive news. Like Karen, I want to know, are things looking up for everyone else?