MIA survey spots first indication of recovery

While the majority of Meetings Industry Association (MIA) members have been experiencing cancellations and postponements after 11 September, 52% maintain enquiries have increased in the first three months of this year. The MIA’s Quarterly Survey of Trends also found 90% of members are discounting rates either regularly or occasionally to guarantee business in an unstable marketplace. Despite this discounting, the average occupancy for meeting rooms is around 47% – 12% lower than reported in last year’s survey. Lead times for organising events are also becoming ever shorter, with an average of 1.6 months, compared to 2.6 months in the previous year. MIA commercial director Charles Blowfield said the survey provides an insight into the current state of the industry and “helps us to provide the best advice to our members in a time when the market is relatively unstable”. The survey also found that 100% of members now have their own website, compared with 75% last year. Also, 77% of members now handle event enquiries via the internet, compared to 45% in 2001. The MIA is also in the process of appointing an executive director to implement the changes outlined in its strategic review. These include growing the membership base from 650 to 1,000 within three years, increasing regional activities to ensure all parts of the country are fully represented, and to raise awareness of its Hospitality Assured Meetings awards. MIA president Peter Darnell said: “The impact of recent world and domestic events, both social and economic, has presented our industry with many challenges. We need to constantly look at ways of improving and adding value to the services we provide our members. We have decided to appoint an executive director, whose key task will be to lead the team and drive through these strategic developments.” The survey was carried out on 68 members of the MIA, from a cross section of industry sectors.

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