The latest Meetings Outlook report from Meeting Professionals International predicts a new era for meetings and events, as the stability and economic improvement allow meeting planners to take a more strategic approach.
The quarterly Meetings Outlook report presents survey data from MPI's Business Research Panel that is designed to help meeting professionals identify new trends and innovations on the horizon.
The 2015 Spring Edition found almost three-quarters (74%) of meeting professionals expect overall business conditions to improve and 60% of respondents predict an increase in live attendance at events. Budgets remain a concern for many respondents, with many planners being expected to do more with less. The challenge for meeting professionals will be devising a strategy that takes into account limited budgets.
Despite budget restraints, the report found 'many meeting professionals are leaving the reactive mode of the recession behind and taking a deeper dive into planning'.
Alise Long, CMM (MPI Netherlands Chapter), communications manager of strategic meetings and events at Heerlen, commented: “The role of the meeting planner is finally changing into a more strategic role.”
Bill Voegeli (MPI Georgia Chapter), president of Association Insights - the company that conducts the Meetings Outlook research, echoed Alise's sentiment: “This is the first time the industry has been in the position where you have young, bright, energetic professionals … being faced with opportunities they’ve never had before.” He believes the current climate offers the best opportunity for strategic thinking in the past decade, adding: “It takes opportunity, resources and the desire to be able to think strategically, to consider how to improve relationships and to be smarter with how folks use the tools in their toolbox. Now is one of those rare times.”
Christian Savelli, senior director of business intelligence and research for MPI, believes this to be the best time for organisations to grow intelligently: “Organizations are now able to innovate, test new ideas and hire the right people—there’s no need to just throw warm bodies at projects, as can be the case when business is growing too quickly. So you can focus on what matters for your organization; the fear is gone from the negative macro environment.”
Other findings include; anticipated uses for mobile apps to change from tactical to strategic with more location-based functions expected, and more cost saving exercises such as in-house, local and regional events and compressing meetings into shorter time periods to address budget limitations.
The 2015 Spring Edition of the Meetings Outlook is available here: www.mpiweb.org/Portal/Research/meetingsoutlook