The IBTM Global Meetings Industry Research was presented as a panel discussion at EIBTM 2013 by Sally Greenhill (Managing Director, The Right Solution). The panel discussed aspects of the report from destination development, technology and their affects on markets and costs.
The IBTM Global Meetings Industry Research –Europe focus researches event buyers and suppliers to look at volume and value of events in Europe, which countries have been most popular for events in the last twelve months and which ones are forecast for the year ahead, budget changes, Satisfaction ratings, the latest issues affecting the market including technology, compliance and social media and whether they are increasing costs and saving money.
It is encouraging to note that 21% of global buyers had experienced increases in European attendee numbers over the last twelve months, 65% said numbers were the same and only 14% of buyers had experienced fewer attendees at their events. For many, particularly at corporate events, when higher numbers of events are being organised without matched increased budgets, delegate numbers have to be limited to those who really need to attend.
European buyers definitely appear more optimistic. 54% said conference and events business in Europe will increase in the next 12 months, 36% said it will stay the same and 10% said it will decrease. There was a hopeful mood indicated with 57% predicting an increase in events in the next twelve months.
Pressures on the Industry
Caroline Hill, Director (Compliant Venues) spoke of the affect on rising costs of industry compliance especially within the Associations and healthcare meetings industry.
Certain industries such as banking and healthcare are under pressure by regulatory procedures both internally and externally to act and spend more responsibly.said the new rulings were ‘causing a lot of admin and work’ for the industry. During the seminar, she said that health care and pharmaceutical meetings were evolving to the still developing requirements.
The consequences of large fines for bad practice are heightening awareness of the need for compliance and tight regulatory codes.
Suppliers were also optimistic that the number of events would show increases in the next twelve months. However only 23% think that budgets will increase over the same period. Interestingly 57% predict that new destinations would generate an increase in business with value adding and cost incentives that would stretch budgets further.
For the first time in recent years the issue that will most impact their conference business in the next 12 months was not the Global economy, although political stability was still mentioned for some countries. The most frequently listed issues were as follows:
- Adding value for clients, careful management of costs
- Relationships (with clients) built on trust and excellent service
- Clients having confidence in events as effective part of their marketing mix
- Demonstrating ROI.
The key factors influencing venue and destination selection has developed beyond the primary factors of location and price/value for money, and quality of service is considered an important factor. When budgets are limited and increasingly more is being demanded of those budgets, it is challenging for venues and suppliers to provide the expected service levels. Compliance with industry criteria is also rated as a high priority. Location (area of country)
- Quality of service
- Price/value for money
- Access (road, rail links)
- Capacity of conference facilities
- Compliance with your industry criteria
- Quality of food
Krzysztof Celuch (Managing Director, Poland Convention Bureau), was a panelist at EIBTM 2013 and discussed the Polish experience of entering the meetings industry. Krzysztof spoke of the promotion of Poland’s unique qualities as a meetings and events destination, and venue for future events. The Poland Convention Bureau is a governmental institution – a division of the Polish Tourist Organisation.
Buyers views of change for a range of issues affecting their events are shown below with use of new destinations and new technology shaping event content showing highest increases. Stefania Conti-Vechi (Founder & CEO, EVENTagonist) provided insight into the evolving technical opportunities for the meetings industry. The trend of incorporating technology to not only plan and organise events is moving towards the use of App’s to interact with participants during events. A huge 65% of organisers are using technology such as social media to communicate with participants before, during and after events.