The meetings & events industry can be optimistic about growth prospects next year, driven by increased competition in the supply chain for market share, and robust investments and a desire for consolidation of spend by buyers, according to 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express Meetings & Events.
Across the globe, the continued localisation of meetings programs will be a key trend next year, as meeting professionals seek to add flexibility and nuance to offerings that address specific market needs and drive program adoption. The link between compliance and security in today’s geopolitical landscape is another area of focus, with a special section on compliance challenges and risks associated with corporate meetings in China.
Technology is expected to continue its transformation of meetings and events in 2018, particularly on the end-to-end management of delivery and attendee experience. The potential of emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI), and the ongoing development of mobile-app and hybrid-meeting solutions are creating innovation and value add opportunities for both meeting owners and attendees.
“Following the shifting sentiment in 2017, next year should be more positive around the world in terms of spend, number of meetings and attendees. Meanwhile, meeting owners are prioritising attendee experience and engagement over scale. As a result, we expect to see shorter, more focused meetings,” said Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president and general manager for American Express Meetings & Events.
“Economic and geopolitical influences will continue to create uncertainty, but we anticipate ongoing industry resilience and continued focus on successful experiences,” added Jouaneh.
In Asia Pacific, Australia anticipates robust growth; the Forecast predicts an increase in both the amount of money spent on meetings and the number of attendees. Elsewhere, other countries have expressed reservations. The combined rise of hotel rates and falling meetings activities have led to budget constraints and the predicted increase in cost per attendee. For the year ahead, respondents indicated basic meetings management and support would be prioritised to better control meetings investment and showcase value.