The figure represents a significant upwards turn from the 0.7% drop predicted for 2015. Meanwhile, more than 20% of European respondents said they would be likely to see an increase in the number of meetings held throughout the year, across all sectors and regions.
Christina Wilkes, director of meetings & events for American Express, told C&IT that the growth was down to renewed confidence in the economy. "Before, companies were making cuts to budgets [but] we’re now seeing a trend towards growth and investment."
She added that the number of meeting attendants was also on the rise, with just 10% of respondents predicting a decline in meeting sizes. "There’s more focus on getting the right people to meetings and face-to-face interaction is on the rise."
The most popular meeting types include internal team meetings and training meetings, with companies reporting an average of 22.7 and 21.9 meetings planned for 2016, respectively. Planned sales-and-marketing meetings have increased to an average of 20.1 for the year, while planned conferences and trade shows rose to 20.2.
"As meetings activity increases, compliance and risk issues become even more important. Europe leads the world when it comes to having a formal meetings policy, with 71% of respondents having this in place for their entire organisation," said Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president and general manager, American Express Meeting & Events. "For American Express Meetings & Events, 2016 will be focused on helping our European customers deliver high-quality events and supporting them when it comes to risk management and duty of care. We are excited to be partnering with our customers to add value to their expanding meeting programmes."