As 2015 draws to a close, its time for meeting and event planners to devote quality time to planning for 2016. An understanding of industry outlook for next year can be very helpful in formulating these plans.
Here are some useful sources of information and a summary of key highlights.
The latest edition of MPI's Meeting Outlook predicts that event planners can continue to experience challenges due to a seller's market in 2016. Event and meeting planners are advised to begin their planning early in order to book their preferred venues.
Disruption due to technological innovation will, of course, continue with increasing demand for apps, Wi-Fi and attendees expecting to use multiple devices during meetings.
Risk management will be increasingly important due to world events and the fact that letters of intent that were signed during the recession are being set aside now that the economy is stronger.
Meetings planners who responded to the AMEX survey are optimistic about the 2016 industry outlook. High growth is projected for training and development and internal team meetings.
- North America: North American meeting planners who responded to the survey expect an average of 80 meetings during 2016 and 30 of them will be training or internal team meetings. The average number of days per meeting for incentive trips and conferences is expected to be 3.2. Sales and marketing meetings are expected to be an average of 2.4 days.
- Europe: European meeting planners are forecasting the highest number of meetings, an average of 80. Tha average length of meetings is 2.5 days for incentive trips, 2.8 days for conferences, and 1.9 days for sales and marketing meetings.
- Asia: In Asia, meeting planners forecasted the lowest number of meetings for the year (an average of 68) but they are expecting the highest level of growth. Asian incentive trips are expected to average 3.3 days. The average expected meeting length for conferences is 2.8 days and for sales and marketing meetings is 2.2 days.
Released last week, the annual AMEX Global travel forecast predicts slightly higher prices for accommodation and airfares globally. The key drivers are low gas prices and improving economies. With respect to regional outlook, the report forecasted:
- U.S.: Group fares for long-haul flights will be relatively flat while competition will keep pricing flat for short-haul flights.
- Canada: Lower oil prices and strong competition will result in slight declines in airfares for both short and long-haul flights.
- Latin America: Airfares are expected to decline in 2016 as economies in the region continue to face challenges.
- Europe: Airfares are expected to remain stable.
- The Middle East and Africa: In the Middle East, airfares are expected to decline due to falling oil prices. Africa can expect a slight increase in airfares.
- Asia Pacific: Moderate increases in airfares.
In 2016, modest increases in cost per attendee are projected in all regions but Asia/Pacific, where a 5% increase is projected; and North America, where a 4.5% increase is expected. In North America, higher food and beverage costs will be the key driver of the increase.
Photo Credit: John Ross