European meeting spend expected to rise 2.1% despite 'Brexit instability'

American Express Meetings & Events 2020 Forecast also finds number of incentives increasing in North America.

Meeting professionals are bullish about 2020, as steady growth across all meeting types is predicted for the fifth consecutive year, according to the 2020 Global Meetings and Events Forecast.

The report by American Express Meetings & Events (M&E) found that overall European meeting spend is predicted to increase by 2.1%, and cost per attendee per day is expected to increase by 1.9% for incentives and special events.

However, is also found that meeting planners are facing challenges relating to GDPR and the political instability caused by Brexit.

The report also found that there are currently more meetings taking place than there is space available, which will create challenges for organisers and planners in future.

"Meetings and events have cemented their place as a critical driver of communications, growth, and engagement for organisations of all shapes and sizes," said Gerardo Tejado, general manager at American Express Meetings & Events. 

"The challenge for planners now lies in making more out of what they have—creating a seamless experience for meeting attendees, using technology for an authentic purpose, and meeting the demand for personalised experiences."

The report found that North America will see a modest 1.6% increase in overall event spend. There will still be more internal meetings than any other type of meeting, though the overall number is expected to fall from 30% to 25% of spend, in part because of more incentive trips happening. Incentives are expected to rise from 11% to 15% of meeting spend.   

In Asia Pacific total meeting spend for 2020 is predicted to rise across all regions, but by an average of just 1.3%. 

Survey respondents in Central and South America are predicting a stable year for the meetings and events industry, and this is the only region where projected budget increases could match the expected rate increases. 

Central & South America are also the most optimistic about planners’ abilities to incorporate technology to enhance their meeting experience, said the report.


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