State of the Industry 2015: Corporates bolder in destination choice

While the tried-and-tested events destinations remain as popular as ever, more corporates are looking at new options including Croatia, New Orleans and Shanghai.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik, Croatia

European favourites 

Europe remained a popular destination for event planners in 2014, with C&I heavyweights Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt and Barcelona all being used by corporates in the last 12 months.

"We have held several events in Barcelona in recent years," says Vicki Howe, events manager at Advent Software. "For our client conference in September last year, we used the Hotel Arts Barcelona. There is plenty to do and it caters for most tastes."

Also popular in Europe amongst event planners was Copenhagen, which was recently selected as the host city for MPI’s next European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC) in February 2016.

"Copenhagen isn’t a European destination that people immediately think of, but it is very different and it works on many levels," says MCI UK project manager Katy Miller.

Event agencies highlighted a wide range of smaller European destinations, including Bruges, Bulgaria and Sardinia, as places their events will be heading to in 2015, reflecting the confidence clients are showing in locations away from the usual big hitters.

Charlotte Wilson, managing director at Pure Events, has seen growing demand for Croatia. "There is a selection of very good and decent sized hotels, it’s spectacularly beautiful and there are a lot of different activities for groups to do there." Pizza Hut chose Croatia for a celebratory incentive trip in Dubrovnik, which was delivered by In2Events in April this year.

Breaking America

In last year’s State of the Industry report, the US was on the top of the hit list for 2014, which showed in this year’s survey. A total of 8% of corporates named the States as the overseas destination they used the most in 2014, while another 7% specified New York as their most popular destination. A further 15% of agencies highlighted the US as their most popular destination, which included cities such as Miami, Boston, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.

The Black Tomato Agency is one of the agencies that reported this. Chetan Shah, operations director, explains: "We’ve seen a lot of activity in the US in the last 18 months and as we’re getting more experience with the destination we’re becoming more likely to sell it."

Miami has become extremely popular amongst the agency’s clients, delivering six incentive programmes in the destination in the last 18 months.

However, Shah states that clients are becoming confident enough explore new parts of the country. "Lots of clients have done New York and Las Vegas before but new cities like Chicago and New Orleans are becoming definitely up and coming."

C&I hotspots in 2015 and beyond

Singapore and Hong Kong are well established as C&I favourites in the Asia-Pacific region, but corporates are branching out from these more tried-and-tested options, with the likes of Vietnam, Thailand and Shanghai named as destinations they will use for the first time in 2015.

Chew Events has just confirmed a major conference in Vietnam and director Matthew Curran says the client was surprised by the destination’s capabilities.

"As soon as we spoke to the hotels and DMCs in Vietnam, we realised that it ticked all the same boxes as any other big C&I destination.

"We’re delivering an event in Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, which is the more high-end and business-focused part of the country. It’s incredibly cheap, the service is five-star and it's relatively easy to fly to."

More:

State of the Industry 2015: London remains top UK destination for planners

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