As the meetings industry looks ahead to the rest of 2015, planners and suppliers alike are searching for answers to many big questions. Will budgets be bigger or smaller? How much lead time will an organization need to secure the right space for an event? What kind of challenges are impeding attendance growth?
Our colleagues at Convene conducted the magazine’s 24th Annual Meetings Market Survey to uncover these answers and unlock new insights about the short-term future of face-to-face meetings and conferences. With responses from more than 500 association, corporate and independent meeting planners, the data delivered some promising signs.
1) Registration numbers are on the rise.
In 2014, 45 percent of meetings planners saw attendance figures increase at their largest meetings. If all goes as planned this year, they’ll be printing even more name badges again. Thirty-eight percent of planners anticipate growth in their attendance numbers in 2015.
2) Booths will continue to boost the bottom line.
For meetings that include an exhibition component, the show floor may be getting more crowded. Twenty-nine percent of respondents expect the number of exhibitors at their events to increase in 2015. If that prediction proves to be true, meeting planners will have a big reason to smile. Exhibit sales ranked as the second biggest revenue source for meetings.
SEE ALSO: 4 Tips For Connecting With Trade Show Attendees
3) The industry continues to expand its global reach.
As organizations look for opportunities to expand their reaches outside North American borders, it’s clear that face-to-face meetings are playing a critical role. In 2015, 16 percent of meeting planners expect to see their international attendance numbers increase. Many of them are taking a key step toward solidifying global growth potential, too. They’re going to those attendees rather than hoping they will come to them. Forty-seven percent of respondents in Convene’s research plan to hold meetings outside the United States in the future.
SEE ALSO: 4 Simple Tips To Attract More International Attendees To Your Medical Meeting
While many of the percentage figures from the findings were positive, some respondents also indicated that many challenges continue to hinder their success. From high room rates and high airfare costs to tight budgets for organizations and individual attendees, the open-ended responses from the research revealed some of the key issues impacting the industry.
“I feel ethics is still very much lacking in our industry and it hinders our ability to negotiate, to secure good and reasonable pricing,” one respondent wrote. “I see deals cut between AV companies and hotel venues to provide exclusive Wi-Fi services, which pushes the pricing through the roof. This is something we as planners are in need of now more than ever, but there’s no regulation of the pricing out there — transparency in our industry is diminishing overall, and this is a concern.”
Want to dig deeper into what the rest of the year holds for meetings? Click here to review the complete findings from Convene.