Trend Watch: Value, Service Key to Meetings Industry Success | SalesAndMarketing.com
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Trend Watch: Value, Service Key to Meetings Industry Success

In order to emerge from the recession more strong than weak, the meetings industry must focus on delivering high value while maintaining high quality, concludes an annual report from EIBTM.

Released yesterday at EIBTM in Barcelona, the 2009 "EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share Report" analyzes key meetings and incentives trends from the past 12 months and makes predictions for trends in the next 12. Because the economy has hit it so hard, the report concluded, the meetings industry must be prepared for a continuing buyers' market in the year ahead.

"In a challenging environment, the winners in 2010 will be those suppliers who offer exceptional value and service and those destinations that target a diversified business base where downturns in one area of the meetings industry can be compensated for with opportunities in other areas," said EIBTM Industry Analyst Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in business travel and tourism at the University of Westminster in London, who compiled the report. "The more the industry does to promote itself as excellent value, with no compromise in quality, the more likely it is to emerge stronger than before."

Among EIBTM's key findings:

• Hardest hit by the recession this year were corporate meetings; association meetings, meanwhile, fared the best.

• Because of the recession, the meetings industry this year has faced shorter lead times, price-shopping clients, more one-day events and fewer overnight stays.

• Fewer meetings are taking place in resorts, and more in hotels and conference centers.

• China is emerging as a top international meeting destination, as is the Middle East.

• In response to budget cuts, more companies are embracing alternative meeting platforms, such as webinars and videoconferencing.

• Social media this year became an integral part of the meeting industry's marketing mix.

• Corporate social responsibility continues to shape the way in which meetings and events are held.

• Encouraged by a slow but sure recovery, organizations will gradually book more meetings and take more business trips in 2010, although they will continue to meet in practical, not extravagant, destinations.

— Nielsen Business Media