American Express research shows 6% drop in European meetings spend

Shrinking budgets will be a key concern for European event planners, according to latest research from American Express Meetings & Events unveiled at EIBTM.

American Express's Michael Schuller reveals research at EIBTM
American Express's Michael Schuller reveals research at EIBTM

Economic uncertainty

The American Express Meetings & Events Global Meetings Forecast 2013 predicts that economic uncertainty is expected to push a decline in overall spend and number of meetings across Europe and North America.

While the number of meetings held is expected to remain flat in North America, and overall spend dip around one per cent, in Europe there is a gloomier outlook.

The American Express report – developed following research with events professionals and its clients – forecasts number of meetings to drop 2.3% across Europe next year, with overall meeting spend shrinking 6%.

However, Asia Pacific is bucking the trend, with number of meetings up 6.4% and overall events spend up 4.2%.

Struggles

American Express Meetings & Events vice president EMEA Michael Schuller said: "It is no surprise to us that activity and spend will go down as European countries continue to struggle economically.

"Significantly, the drop in spend is bigger than the fall in activity, which means managing budgets through staying closer to home, one day meetings, and staying in less expensive properties."

Schuller added that the pressure on budgets was likely to lead to a greater focus on strategic meetings management programmes.

"We see a lot of sophisticated travel policies, which we are not necessarily seeing in meetings," he said. "Clients are saying they would like to see that level of sophistication they have in business travel move into meetings."

London topped the top ten list of destinations for European meeting planners, but Schuller also noted an increased interest in destinations including Prague, Budapest and Istanbul.

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