New CWT Meetings & Events report predicts overall industry growth in 2016

Caution raised to meeting and event planners about stricter booking conditions

CWT Meetings & Events, the award-winning meetings and events agency, has released its 2016 Meetings and Events Forecast (“Forecast”). It predicts positive growth for the industry in the coming 12 months.

While the news of overall growth is positive, the report also sounds a note of caution. As attrition and cancellation terms are becoming stricter, supplier negotiations will be more important than ever to meeting planners.

The fourth annual edition of Forecast provides event planners with comprehensive regional data, including average attendee cost per day and average group size, so they can plan and budget for the coming year.

“Our Forecast is about providing clients with valuable insight for the coming year, so they armed with the most relevant information for their upcoming budgeting and negotiations,” says David Moran, executive vice president, Carlson Wagonlit Travel. “Whether they are focused on meetings, events or the widespread global adoption of Strategic Meetings Management, it’s a vital tool in preparing for the year ahead.”

Key findings from different regions around the world include:

  • The unpredictable economy in Asia Pacific could cause challenges in the region, although stronger demand from China and India could drive up group size and prices.
  • High demand for meetings and events venues in North America is exceeding supply, resulting in a sellers’ market. Careful planning is therefore very important;
  • Meanwhile, in Europe, buyers are gaining greater negotiating power as the region sees slow but steady growth;
  • Pockets of high demand will be created around the Rio 2016 Olympics; and Paralympic Games next summer, resulting in a potential shortage of meeting space.

This year’s report also offers a range of practical tips for those planning meetings and events in 2016. Tips include:

  • Plan ahead – be aware that some hotels in high-demand markets no longer hold space when responding to availability requests. Make internal decision makers aware, and decide if you can be flexible on dates.
  • Fuel your budget as well as your attendees – food and beverage (F&B) continues to be a significant driver of per-attendee costs. Adjust F&B patterns to manage budgets while promoting the healthy alternatives that remain very popular with attendees.
  • Tick tock – lead time for registration and venue contracts continues to shrink. However, by increasing the lead time for larger events, event and meeting planners can increase their negotiation power.

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