Meetings activity may slow down in the coming year, including a decrease in the number of meetings held and the number of attendees per meeting. That’s just one of the findings in the 2017 Global Meetings & Events Forecast produced by American Express Meetings & Events.
The report, released in October 2016, is based on the company’s internal data, plus a survey of meeting professionals and hotel and airline suppliers and interviews with experts from around the world including companies such as Cvent, Delta Airlines, Air Canada, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Hilton Worldwide, and more.
In the executive summary, Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president and general manager of American Express Meetings & Events, writes, “Respondents in North America predict meeting spend will be flat with less than 1 percent change in budget overall. The tempered meetings activity predictions for 2017 may be influenced by the uncertainty associated with the November presidential elections in the U.S., and the economic slowdown in Canada.”
Here is a summary of some of the key findings related to meetings and events
1. Respondents predict decreases in the number of their larger meetings, such as product launches, conferences, tradeshows, incentives, and special events.
2. Attendee size is expected to decline for several internal meeting types, including training, senior leadership, and advisory board meetings.
3. Following the largest forecasted spend increase in four years in 2016, predictions for 2017 indicate meeting budgets will remain relatively flat or decrease slightly.
4. The cost per attendee, excluding air travel, is highest for incentives and special events, at $640 per person, and lowest for internal team meetings, at $293 per person.
5. When a meeting budget reaches its limit, off-site evening events and the length of meetings are the first areas where cuts will be made.
6. Cuts are rarely made in communication, registration, and audiovisual technology, because these areas are viewed as crucial to the quality of a meeting and the attendees’ experience of the meeting.
7. Regarding the location of events, predictions that activity will take place in large cities dropped from 80 percent last year to 73 percent in this report. In contrast, predictions for second-tier cities increased, from 20 percent for 2016 to 27 percent for 2017.
8. The top two factors influencing the selection of location are the specific type of location needed—such as near a customer or near a training facility—and the ease of air travel and other transportation to that location.
9. Group hotel rates are expected to remain relatively flat.
10. The tourism in Southeast Asia is rising. Especially in Vietnam where the number of new hotel constructions is increasing: According to TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the worldwide leading provider of global B2B hotel data, currently 50 new top hotels and luxury resorts are in the pipeline, thereof large properties for international hotel brands such as Six Senses, Ritz Carlton, Dusit Thani and JW Marriott.
In 2013 the hotel portfolio increased from 787 to 923 hotels with 34,834 rooms. The greatest part is located in Yangon (232 hotels with 10,175 rooms) followed by Mandalay (104 hotels), Bagan (77) and the capital Nay Pyi Taw (50) and Taunggyi/Inke Lake (70). The ministry recently calculated a stock of 1,000 hotels with about 10,000 new rooms.
Yangon remains the most popular destination. The occupancy rate at luxury hotels reached greatly 80 percent in 2013. In 2009 it was only at 46 percent. The room rate increased by almost 300 percent from 40 US Dollars to 157 US Dollars in average. The largest hotel is the Sule Shangi-La (former Traders) with 484 rooms as well as the hotels Sedona (450 rooms), Park Royal (359), Chatrium (315), Summit Parkview (250), Inya Lake (239) and Golden Hill (212).
Another strong economic growth by seven percent is recorded in Cambodia. Similar increases are expected for this and the next year. More and more manufacturing sites (focus of clothing) are relocated from China and Vietnam to Cambodia. With a growth of the visitor flow by 17.5 percent up to 4.2 million foreign guests, the tourism revives the demand of customer good as well as the hospitality and gastronomy. According to TOPHOTELPROJECTS currently seven new top hotels (Rosewood, Okura, Shangri-La) are in the pipeline in Cambodia.
11. Room rates and complimentary meeting space are the top priorities for companies when negotiating with hotels.
12. Virtual and hybrid meeting use in North America and Europe will remain relatively unchanged in 2017, with one-quarter of meeting owners using these types of meetings.