The IBTM Global Research, presented by Sally Greenhill of The Right Solution Ltd. at EIBTM 2013 (www.eibtm.com), revealed an increased level of optimism from European Buyers and suppliers, with 93% of all buyer respondents predicting that conference and events business in Europe would either increase or stay the same over the next 12 months, compared with 86% in the last 12 months.
- European Buyers Optimistic with 54% predicting an increase in Conference and Events Business over the next 12 months
- 93% of European Suppliers predict volume of events will increase or stay the same over the next 12 months
- New Technologies and use of Social Media becoming even more prominent in Meetings and Events
The research also revealed that suppliers too, were positive about the outlook for the meetings and events industry in 2014, with 93% of European respondents predicting that the volume of events will increase or stay the same over the next 12 months.
Further to this, 57% of suppliers believed that buyers are looking to place business in a new destination over the next 12 months. Greenhill commented, “The research illustrates just how strong the flow of inbound and outbound business is for Europe, with the impact of economic problems in the Eurozone and elsewhere in recent years beginning to wane. For the first time in recent years, the survey predicts that the global economy will not impact conference business in the next 12 months.
” Instead, for 2013, the most frequent issue identified by suppliers of the meetings and events industry included; adding value for clients, developing relationships built on trust and excellent service and demonstrating ROI. Buyers top ten countries for events in Europe by volume and those forecast for the next 12 months include Spain, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands and Turkey. Beyond Europe, buyers are taking large amounts of events outside the continent.
The percentage of buyers holding events outside Europe are: Asia (35%), Americas (43%), Africa (19%) and the Middle East (32%). With regards to the size of events coordinated by buyers, Greenhill commented, “it is encouraging to note that 21% of global buyers had experienced increases in European attendee numbers over the last 12 months, 65% said numbers were the same and only 14% of buyers had experienced fewer attendees at their events.” Key factors influencing venue and destination choice included location , quality of service price/value for money and ease of access. Compliance with industry criteria was also rated as a high priority.
The research also reveals the high use of new technologies and forms of communication during events with 65% using social media to communicate before, during or after meetings and 42% of meeting planners are also now handing out smartphones or tablets to provide delegates with information during conferences. Supplier research supports these findings with 53% of them agreeing that new technologies are adding creative options for events. Social media also evidently provides an invaluable communication tool for suppliers with 85% of suppliers using Facebook, 72% using Twitter and 68% using Linked In to communicate company information.