While the close of 2012 was dominated by discussions of the fiscal cliff and continuing concerns about the economy, a new report from the Global Business Travel Association paints a much brighter portrait for the meetings industry this year.
“Businesses will be looking to capitalize on growth opportunities abroad and spend more on in-person meetings and events,” Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO, says. “By nature, meetings are longer-lead investments that require greater confidence in the future.”
According to figures from the GBTA, that confidence looks to be returning. The GBTA estimates a 5.2 percent increase in group travel spending. That’s quite the leap from the small growth of just 1.3 percent last year.
More meeting planners and association executives are looking for potential opportunities overseas, and the GBTA estimates reflect the globalization of group travel, too. In 2013, the organization estimates a 5.9 percent increase in international outbound spending. While uncertainty in Europe may continue, the easing of travel restrictions in countries such as China and Brazil will play an important role in making that predicted increase a reality.
“As more businesses recognize the potential for growth in Asia and South America, meeting planners will need to proactively look for ways to capitalize on that growth,” Michelle Stoddard Crowley, manager, global development, PCMA, says. “Businesses will be spending in 2013, but many of those dollars may be in new areas of the world.”
Later the Better
Don’t expect this increase to begin immediately. In the first part of the year, spending will only moderately rise. However, that spending will kick into high gear in Q3 and Q4 with increases of 6.4 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.
Regardless of how much your clients spend this year, there are plenty of new opportunities to maximize their face-to-face events. Click here to read 39 tips for better meetings in 2013.