Trends Affecting Meeting Planners in 2014

As professional meeting planners prepare for 2014, there are some significant factors that should be considered to ensure successful conferences in the year ahead. Recently, American Express released their 2014 Global Meetings Forecast, advising planners and suppliers to be aware of a changing global business climate that will affect the way business meetings and conferences are conducted.

Efficiency will be of paramount importance, and planners will have much tighter budgets to deal with. Interviews with corporate planners, suppliers and hotel executives have made clear four major trends that will impact meeting professionals.

1) Less Spending For Meetings & Conferences

Corporations, business and professional associations, and government organizations around the world have been affected by global economic downturns. The cost effectiveness of meetings and conferences is being closely examined, and budgets for symposiums and other meetings are being trimmed by many of these organizations.

Meeting professionals in Europe, the Asia Pacific nations, and Central and South America predicted that both the number of meetings and the budget for those meetings will be reduced. Among the meeting professionals in the Asia Pacific nations, an area focused on marketing the attractiveness of the region for large global conferences, an approximate 4 percent decrease in meeting revenues is anticipated. In recent years, this region has seen a significant investment by major hotel properties, expanding their lodging and convention facilities for anticipated growth in international business conferences. Now they may be faced with some challenges to fill rooms and book their meeting spaces.

The outlook for North America is slightly better. Meeting planners in the United States and Canada estimate their overall expenditures will remain about the same as for previous years, but indicated a slight increase in the actual number of meetings. Budgets for individual conferences will be trimmed to keep total meeting budgets in line.

2) Less Travel For Meeting Attendees

One of the obvious ways in which meeting budgets can be trimmed is to limit the travel expenditures involved. Traditionally, meetings and conventions have offered attendees an escape from the routine of business as usual in the workplace, but in the forthcoming year, meeting professionals will be selecting the location for meetings closer to the core groups that will attend these conferences. According to respondents queried about meeting plans for 2014, there will be a focus on more regional meetings and less emphasis on global, or international conferences.

3) More Need For Planning Effeciency

With budgets affecting meeting decisions more in the months ahead, the approval process in many organizations will face more obstacles, resulting in shorter lead time between the time meetings are approved and the scheduled dates for the conferences. This situation will present new challenges for meeting professionals as they will have less time to secure suitable properties for their meetings and more attractive room rates may not be available on shorter notice. Though some regions may have a surplus of rooms, many areas are experiencing a different scenario. Instead of experiencing less room demand because of fewer meetings, demand is up as a result of an increase in business travel, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

4) More Creativity In Meeting Planning

The efficiency and adaptability of meeting organizers can be aided by the social media tools now generally available to everyone. Emerging technologies in social networking, mobile apps, and media tools are helping meeting professionals to to better meet the requirements of attendees. Mr. Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager of American Express Meetings & Events, says. “The future will be truly exciting for the industry as we redefine the meetings investment and experience management through the incorporation of digital meetings solutions.” Mobile technology is seen as a way to simplify the planning process and eliminate some of the hurdles that confront meeting planners. Better, instant communication with attendees can ensure that meeting schedules go smoother, notification of impromptu gatherings can be quickly disseminated, and in general, the experience of all involved is enriched through more personal contact.

5) Contact Kettner Creative

Obviously, we need to mention that we think we are the best partners for assisting you with the details of planning audio visual solutions for your event. We have experience planning and creating A/V solutions for events with 10-1000 attendees. No matter what you need, we have you covered – After all, it’s our job to make you look good.

To contact us, call 888.919.2791 or email info@kettnercreative.com – We look forward to hearing from you!