Despite predictions of a recession in 2020, for meeting planners and attendees, next year will bring good news, according to the 2020 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, which stems from a survey of 550 industry professionals. The research, conducted by American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global Business Travel, was released this week.
Budgets will rise, offsetting cost upticks, while planners expect to deploy more technology in meetings, and they’re seeing greater respect for meetings. Attendees likely will see more experiential offerings.
“We expect to see budgets rise, with overall meeting spend increasing by 1.6 to 2.6%, but meeting costs will rise on hotel and air, by two to 3.5%, and by 1.7 to 3.2%, respectively,” said Stephanie Harris, senior director of event services and marketing.
More than half of survey respondents, 54.5%, said they will prioritize attendee experiences over logistics next year. Further, said Harris, when asked what they’d do with a 10% budget increase, more planners chose enhancing the onsite experience than any other budget option.
Meanwhile, 59% of planners surveyed are optimistic about their ability to incorporate technology that will enhance the attendee experience. “People will be using their phones, so it’s a question of ‘What technology can planners apply to immerse attendees in the meeting, rather than lose them to that incoming text or Tweet?’ That purposeful application makes the difference between immersive and distracting technology.”
Best of all, organizations and attendees alike have gained respect for the industry. Meeting policy has been implemented by 75% of organizations because, Harris stated, “meeting program owners have become very savvy in educating their stakeholders on why it’s important.”
Further, she said, “Within North America, we will see more incentives than internal meetings. Meetings have established their value, and businesses are valuing incentives too.”
To access the entire forecast, click here.