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June 22, 2009

Growth in corporate interest in Meeting and Incentive Forums despite dowturn

A series of events that are bringing together corporate event planners and organisers with key suppliers are holding their own despite the downturn, not only reflecting the fact that there is still a demand to hold meetings, but also that it’s more important that ever to carry out thorough research to create the best event for maximum value.

Attendance at the Meeting and Incentive (M&I) Forums – which offer a series of pre-scheduled meetings between high-quality MICE buyers and suppliers – has actually increased during 2009. For example, 20% more exhibitors from 27 different countries attended the European Meeting & Incentive Forum – Spring 2009, compared to last year.

The interest from worldwide high-quality corporate meetings and incentive planners has also improved, with representatives from Nike, American Express and IBM all in attendance at the forum, which was held in Prague last month.

The number of enquiries from planner has also remained steady in comparison to last year, with exhibitors receiving an average of 3.6 enquiries as a direct result of attending the M&I Forum.
“There is still plenty of MICE business in the current market, but to win it, suppliers have to get in touch with the changing needs of the buyer and be flexible,” said Richard Barnes, chief operating officer at Great Hotels Organisation, one of the forum’s exhibitors.

“The suppliers that are doing best in this recession are those that are focusing on meeting the buyers face-to-face to gain this knowledge. The M&I Forums provide the perfect environment for this to happen and that is why demand for the them is still growing despite the market conditions.”
Meanwhile, one of the forum’s high-profile buyers, Anouk Kreek, operations manager events management & travel services for Nike EMEA, commented: “More than ever we are looking at reducing the cost for our meetings and events, which forces us to look at alternative venues that we have not worked with before. It is crucial to meet suppliers face-to-face and build a good relationship with them in order to understand what they have to offer and ensure they understand our requirements.”

The next M&I Forum will be for US MICE buyers and take place at The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida from 20-22 September 2009. This will shortly be followed by the first M&I Forum Asia held at The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel in Macau, China from 27-29 September 2009. The final forum of the year will be for European buyers and will take place at the Grande Real Santa Eulalia Hotel in the Algarve, Portugal from 13-17 October 2009.

For more information, visit www.mi-forums.com

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