Warning over event budgets as growth slows

Budgets are not increasing at the same pace as over the past few years, according to a director at industry association MPI.

Jessie States is the director of the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Academy. C&IT spoke to her recently to ask a few questions about current trends in the MICE sector that were unearthed in MPI’s latest Meetings Outlook report.  

What are the main industry business trends that you are currently seeing?

Globally, we are witnessing slowing growth in the meeting marketplace, as well as in event attendance and employment. This mirrors economic indicators seen in other sectors during the past two quarters. 

Budgets aren’t increasing at the same pace as they have for the past several years, either.

However, for the first time in many years we’ve seen increases in the number of meeting executives who report a buyers’ market, and we also see more people reporting that the market is balanced.

Where are you drawing your conclusions from?

By conducting the quarterly Meetings Outlook report into business and market trends - and adding additional data from past reports - we hope to enable meeting organisers to make strategic decisions for their organisations and the meetings and events they produce.

Understanding the current marketplace, and forecasts for the next 12 months, can help organisers understand the market implications of how geopolitical decisions and economic trends impact the meeting industry. 

We also collect data on other trends – such as the impact of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals or the experience economy – and roll that into the report as well, to keep meeting organisers on top of worldwide trends. 

How will these trends affect the future of meetings?

The experience economy is creating change within the meetings sector, as more and more meeting organisers say they are being asked to design events with experiential elements to increase attendance and excitement among all groups, with particular (though not sole) attention to younger audiences.

Answering the demand for action on sustainability from consumers and stakeholders, increasing numbers of meeting organisers focus on reducing the negative impact of their meetings, events and business travel and on increasing the positive impact these can have on local communities.

Overtourism is also top-of-mind as they seek to understand how destinations can be positively impacted by visitors and group business, and look for the help of partners (destinations) in ensuring they are making the right decisions on where and how to host meetings that leave positive impacts for all stakeholders.

You can read the full MPI Meetings Outlook report here.

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