MPI, Amex: Futurewatch Study reveals Meetings Industry set to adapt

Development. The economic effect, according to the report, is not quite as severe as first anticipated. Meeting attendance per meeting, is expected to increase by 3% in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and 9% in Canada but with a 5% decline in the United States.
“After three strong years, the global meeting and event industry is coming to grips with a major paradigm shift and the FutureWatch report reveals how acute the expectations are for change,” said Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI. “Through initiatives like our Global Knowledge Plan <,>  we aim to prepare our 24,000 members for the challenging times ahead ensuring that we are well placed to adapt and thrive.”
Key preliminary FutureWatch findings:

·     In 2009, meeting and event budgets are expected to fall by 6%. Last year’s report predicted that budgets would rise 22.6%. In fact, 17% of corporate meeting planners and 12% of association meeting planners predict some level of budget reductions in 2009. Nevertheless, government meeting planners generally expect fewer budget reductions.
·     Planners and suppliers agree that an increase in creativity and innovation will be a necessary and invaluable tool in 2009. They expect new standards and practices to emerge making the industry more efficient and effective. While client planners foresee a 9% drop in volume, independent meeting management professionals expect only a marginal 0.5% drop.
·     11% of meeting professionals expect an increase in the use of technology to access meetings and content remotely, to help lower overall costs.
·     Face-to-face meetings are still considered to have the highest ROI of all marketing tools. A greater significance is being placed on planners worldwide to provide the value of the proposed meeting or event. 74% of organisations holding meetings and events measure ROI with the primary measure being the satisfaction of the attendees.
FutureWatch 2009 is based on 2,740 responses from industry professionals. The full report will be released at MPI’s 2009 MeetDifferent® conference in Atlanta, 7-10 February and at MPI’s European Meetings and Events Conference in Turin, 1-3 March 2009.

About MPI:
Meeting Professionals International, the meeting and event industry’s largest and most vibrant global community, helps members thrive by providing human connections to knowledge and ideas, relationships and marketplaces. MPI membership is comprised of more than 24,000 members belonging to 70 chapters and clubs worldwide.
About American Express:
Merchant Services is the merchant network of American Express, which acquire and maintains relationships with millions of merchants around the globe which welcome American Express branded Cards. American Express is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.