At Dana Communications, we follow the meetings industry closely, as many of our clients rely on meetings business to generate revenue and enhance their bottom line. In partnering with resorts, hotels and conference centers, it is important for us to know what is happening in the marketplace, so we can create marketing communications activities that support their direct sales efforts. As such, we bring you our meeting industry outlook for 2014.
- In general, there are many indicators that 2014 will be a year in which corporate America and the rest of the world increase the number of meetings being held. Beginning in the third quarter of 2008, corporate America quit holding meetings. Training meetings, strategic planning meetings, association meetings and incentive meetings literally disappeared for 18 months. We began to see a steady comeback in 2010, but it was glacial in pace. It looks like 2014 will be the first year in which our clients finally reach the meeting revenues that were being generated in 2008.
- All but one of our clients are well ahead of booking pace for 2014 and look to be ahead of very aggressive budgets for next year. This is the result of an increase in all types of meetings: training, strategic planning, association and incentive.
- The one client not holding pace relies heavily on government meetings. As the government proceeds with its knee-jerk decision to limit meetings of all types, we know that this “cost-saving” measure flies in the face of good business practice. Successful organizations train and strategize in a face-to-face environment, rendering this government policy shortsighted, to say the least.
- The overall positive trend for 2014 is confirmed by a September survey of international association planners conducted at the IMEX trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. IMEX and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) conducted a survey in which 30% of planners said they would be holding more meetings in 2014 than they held in 2013. Only 7% said they would be holding fewer. 47% indicated there would be higher attendance at their meetings—versus only 11% who said attendance would be lower.
- Advito, a corporate travel management consulting firm, has predicted that hotel rates for meetings and corporate travel will increase by 4-6% in 2014. This is the largest increase since 2007 and would actually bring rates back to those of first quarter 2008.
Thus, the horizon is bright for those in the meetings business in 2014. This is good news for the hospitality industry and all those who rely on a healthy meeting industry for profitability. For questions or additional information about our meeting industry outlook, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.