MPI highlights gap in event prediction

Conference organisers expect just a 1% average growth in the number of meetings to be held this year, according to research from industry body Meetings Professionals International (MPI). In contrast, the report, FutureWatch 2003, found suppliers anticipated growth to be 6%. MPI president and CEO Edwin Griffin said the discrepancy between the expectations of suppliers and organisers highlighted the need to “bring the two sides together for more open dialogue”. He added the 1% figure is probably more accurate as organisers are closer to budgets than suppliers. In Europe, the gap between suppliers’ and planners’ expectations is smaller. Organisers forecast 2.9% growth and suppliers 4.6%. MPI director of European operations and global development Didier Scaillet said this could be put down to a better economic climate in Europe, less likely to be directly affected by a war in Iraq. Scaillet added the European outlook is more optimistic than in the US. Europe-based organisers predict a 2.9% increase in budget for 2003, against just 1.7% in the US. The survey also found a third of organisers ranked “relaxation of hotel cancellation and attrition clauses” as the most significant operational trend for this year, which was identified by only 15% of suppliers. The questionnaire was sent to more than 1,300 MPI members in Europe and North America.

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