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Asian MICE to buck shrinking spend in 2013

Looking ahead to next year, a global MICE survey identifies shrinking meetings expenditure, with stagnant or negative growth in all regional markets except for Asia.

American Express Meetings & Events 2013 Global Meetings Forecast predicts that Asia Pacific, with its relatively strong economy, is likely to see the strongest growth among regions in both spending and the number of meetings.

The total number of meetings is forecast to grow by 6.4%, and overall meeting expenditure will rise 4.2%, while spending is expected to drop in all other markets, and particularly in Europe which could see a 6% decline. The top five Asian MICE destinations will be Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Beijing, and Bangkok, though Thailand’s political situation will have a major impact on its success with many MICE planners stating concerns for security and political stability.

“While Asia Pacific is likely to experience growth in 2013, as Europe sees declines, meeting professionals in every region point to budget challenges and the need to ascertain their companies’ own financial performance before they make investments in meetings as top influencers of their programmes,” said Issa Jouaneh, Vice President and General Manager, American Express Meetings & Events. 

“As a result, one of the top emerging trends in the space is the shift to more local meetings.  Meetings professionals are also preparing for group hotel and air expenses to rise next year.”

The Forecast explores several challenges meeting planners are facing as they look to 2013, and identifies four distinct trends that are common across all markets.

Shrinking budgets mean greater accountability and increasingly localised meetings. A significant portion of meeting planners in all regions indicated that gaining approvals for their meetings is becoming at least slightly more difficult. Owing to hesitancy, there is an emerging trend of meetings budgets not being approved until companies’ latest financial data is available. This dynamic is putting even more pressure on already reduced lead times and can negatively impact hotel negotiations, potentially leading to higher costs.

“Companies consider meetings and events to be a key strategy to driving revenue growth and change management, but acknowledge that they are proceeding with caution in a challenging global economy,” said Mr Jouaneh. “To maximise the return on their investment, companies are highly focused on gaining clarity around spend, ensuring transparency as to why their organisations are holding meetings and who is attending them, and measuring the degree to which their meetings objectives have been achieved.”

The findings are based on a comprehensive survey, extensive meetings and events data, and in-depth interviews of meetings professionals – including planners, buyers and hotel suppliers from around the world – conducted by American Express Meetings & Events. The Forecast examines predictions regarding budget, spend, the number of meetings, lead times and other meetings-specific metrics by geographic market. It also provides insight into key trends in meeting planning for 2013, and explores some of the key tactics meeting planners are using to reduce costs and improve programme efficiency. 

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