As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for meeting professionals to determine how to be successful in 2014. According to the new American Express Meetings & Events 2014 Global Meetings Forecast, planners and suppliers alike will need to navigate a business climate that continues to demand one thing: efficiency.
Here’s a look at four key trends that emerged from in-depth interviews with planners, buyers and hoteliers around the world.
1) You’ll See Smaller Spending Totals.
Corporations and associations alike have grown increasingly concerned about the dollar figures attached to their meetings and conferences, and in 2014, they will continue to keep a close eye on those budgets. Respondents in Europe, Asia Pacific and Central/South America all predicted the overall meetings spend within organizations to drop.
The findings among Asia Pacific meeting professionals were most notable, considering just how much attention has focused on the region’s potential to be a hub for meetings. Respondents in the region expect to see a 3.6 percent decrease in overall meetings spend. As hoteliers invest more money and resources to expand their footprints throughout the region, this figure will play a role in filling rooms and meeting space.
SEE ALSO: What Asia Pacific Attendees Mean for Your Meeting’s Future
In North America, the picture looks a bit different. Respondents estimated that overall spend will remain completely flat. While the money isn’t expected to grow, North American respondents do anticipate a 1.5 percent increase in the number of meetings.
2) Your Attendees Will Be Closer to Home.
Meetings may represent a chance to get away from the traditional day-to-day grind of work, but in 2014, that “getting away” may not take attendees quite as far. Respondents from around the world agreed that they are noticing an increase in a demand for regional meetings.
3) You’ll Need to Work More Quickly.
Every meeting planner loves plenty of lead time, but it seems that the clock will speed up next year. As the approval process for meetings continues to face obstacles in many organizations, respondents in every region believe that they will see shorter lead times in 2014. Planners are no strangers to the fact that shrinking lead times can hold serious implications for securing optimal dates and affordable room rates.
SEE ALSO: The Evolving Art of Hotel Negotiation
4) Your New Opportunities Will Be Delivered Digitally.
Having a mobile app and a strong social media presence is no longer reserved for organizations that have plenty of resources and money. These are essential tools for every business. When it comes to hosting meetings, these platforms are powerful ways to turn attendees into true community members.
“Meeting organizers are looking to utilize social media tools to create higher quality and more engaging programs that better meet the needs of attendees,” Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events, says. “The future will be truly exciting for the industry as we redefine the meetings investment and experience management through the incorporation of digital meetings solutions.”
SEE ALSO: Why Mobile Meetings Mean More Business
How are you preparing for next year? Share your thoughts below on what you think will shape success in the meetings industry in 2014.