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December 15, 2015

The Five Most-Read Meetings and Events Industry Stories of 2015

From leading research on industry growth to the saga of Baha Mar, it's been a big year for the meetings and events industry. Don't miss a thing with our roundup of the five most-read stories of the year. 

amex meetings industry forecast 2016AMEX Forecasts Meetings Industry Growth in 2016

2015 was a year looking toward growth in the meetings industry, as shown by the most popular story of the year: The American Express Meetings & Events 2016 Global Meetings Forecast, which predicted that a strong economy and global expansion would drive growth in 2016. At the time of the October report AmEx forecasted a rise in the number of meetings across all regions worldwide. 

Meeting owners were likewise predicted to increase their budgets for 2016, with hotels also upping their capacity in major cities. Lead times, on the other hand, were expected to remain tight, pushing planners to book farther ahead. 

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baha marBaha Mar Opening Pushed Back; Reps Insist Luxury Resort Will Happen

This year also saw trouble at mega-resort Baha Mar in the Bahamas, which failed to open as planned this past March. Plans for the $3.5 billion integrated gaming and luxury resort in Nassau originally called for 2,200 guestrooms across four hotels -- the Baha Mar plus the Rosewood at Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar.

By early November, the resort had gone into receivership, resulting in the layoff of nearly 2,000 Baha Mar workers at the time. The Bahamas Supreme Court approved a request for receivership from the Export-Import Bank of China, one of the resort's major backers, after the resort was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Advisors from Deloitte and Touche, including Raymond Winder, were appointed to oversee the process.

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computerReport: How Many Group Room Nights Are Booked Outside the Room Block?

Booking outside the room block was also top of mind this year, with a study jointly released by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, Center for Exhibition Industry Research, Destination & Travel Foundation, Meeting Professionals International, and Professional Convention Management Association Education Foundation drawing attention for a finding that one in three group room nights in the United States are booked outside of the event contracted room blocks.

The study, which was released in July, called into question the meetings industry's use of room block bookings as a metric for evaluating events, Christine Shimasaki, managing director of empowerMINT.com and Event Impact Calculator at Destination Marketing Association International, said in a statement at the time. 

“This study proves that the method captures only a partial story, and is the first of its kind to quantify just how many more overnight visitors the meetings industry is continuing to drive to destinations across the United States,” said Shimasaki. 

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meeting roomWhat Are Benchmark Hospitality's Top Meeting Trends for 2015?

Adventure, inspiration and more topped the leading trends in the events industry in a March report from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels entitled "Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2015." 

Major trends included a drive to deliver unique, creative experiences, strong expectations for growth in 2015 and an increased emphasis on social media. The report also showcased a reminder of the importance of connectivity (read: good Wi-Fi) at meetings and events, as well as the increased centrality of smart devices to the meetings experience. 

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millennialsCvent Report Studies Millennial Event Planners

Millennials were also top of mind this year, with a survey by cloud-based enterprise event management platform Cvent taking a look at what drives Millennial event planners, with particular attention to the generational differences between meeting planners' sourcing behaviors. 

The survey of more than 800 meeting planners found that Millennial meeting planners are flexible when sourcing a venue, with cost being the top reason cited for switching locations. A 3-5 percent discount would convince up to 17 percent of Millennials to choose their second choice over their first. Other top reasons included customer service, the size and adequacy of space, the availability of dates and a bad experience with booking. 

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About the Author: Adam Leposa





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