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December 1, 2009

Latest industry trends revealed at EIBTM

Value and diversification are key to success in 2010, according to Rob Davidson, the author of this year’s EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share Report, which was launched today at the exhibition in Barcelona.

“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 Davidson, a senior lecturer in Business Travel and Tourism at The University of Westminster in London.

“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.”

Davidson has divided the key findings of the report into six areas, as follows:
General economic context
· Convincing signs that the global recovery is now underway, road back to a buoyant economy will be slow and bumpy
· Many developed economies have suffered; emerging markets have continued to prosper and grow
· Emerging markets in 1999 represented about 20% of global GDP; but should account for closer to 50% by 2010. They account for 80% of the world’s population, 70% of global foreign exchange reserves and half of world exports
· Economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) have seen a strong and broad-based rebound in business confidence
· In Europe, the picture is more mixed. Business confidence has rebounded and many national economies have emerged from the recession, but job losses across the continent are set to continue, particularly in manufacturing
· The unemployment rate in the US rose to 10.2% in October - its highest rate since April 1983. Fears of further job losses were compounded by concerns over the burgeoning budget deficit in the US which hit a record US$1.4 trillion in the year to 30 September.

Meetings and events trends
· Corporate meetings and events, including incentive travel, have been hardest hit
· As corporate profits have fallen in most countries, companies have reacted with an array of cost-cutting measures related to their employees’ business travel and their participation in meetings and business events.
·  As supply outstrips demand in most countries, it is clearly a buyers’ market
·  The Association sector has been far less affected than the corporate sector
·  Demand is buoyant, boosted by the number of new association events created (ICCA database of international association events grew by over 10% this year)
·  The SMERF market (Social, Military, Educational, Religious and Fraternal market) has seen demand growing
·  Fewer meetings being held in resorts, and more in hotels and in dedicated conference centres.

The Industry has seen:
-  Ever shorter lead times
-  Clients shopping around more and comparing prices for facilities and services
-  Greater use of one-day events to reduce the number of overnight stays
-  Reduction in the number of suppliers they use, to increase the potential for economies of scale.

World Regions
· Europe maintains its clear lead where most international association meetings are held, even if this lead is being gradually eroded as a growing number of cities beyond the frontiers of Europe enter the market
· The US remains the world’s number one country in terms of the number of meetings of international associations it hosts, but overall, 2009 saw shrinking budgets, fewer participants, shorter events and increased cancellations and postponements of meetings
· China’s potential as an expanding and highly lucrative market for other countries has made it a prime target for the marketing efforts of many destinations beyond it borders
· In China, the ongoing march towards equipping the country as a leading international meetings and events destination continues; China National Convention Center (CNCC) in Beijing opened in October 2009 for its originally intended function – providing international standard, purpose-built convention and exhibition facilities.
· High-profile wins in Middle East such as the International Bar Association’s decision to hold its 2011 annual conference in Dubai’s World Trade Centre
· On the supply side, investment goes on unabated. Bahrain announced the development of its new Expo City, increasing the size of the existing Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre (BIECC) by around 10 times

Technology trends
· Many corporate buyers have sought a technological solution to help them cut costs
· Greater use of alternative meeting methods, including webinars, videoconferencing and web-based learning tools, as a way to control meeting and travel costs
· Growing use of social media for meetings; becoming an integral part of making an event successful both from a marketing and networking/learning enhancement perspective, and some of the earliest adopters have been associations.

CSR trends
· Corporate Social Responsibility continues to shape the way in which meetings and events are held
· Economic downturn has not significantly reduced companies’ concern to consider the impacts that all of their operations, including meetings, have on the environment
· An important step towards the adoption of uniform measurable standards of environmental performance in meetings planning was taken in August, when the Convention Industry Council's Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) Panel on Green Meeting and Event Practices released the final draft standards for review and comment by the meetings industry
· Growing interest in the potential for industry to leave a social legacy in the destinations it uses

Future outlook
· Trend towards a more positive business outlook
· Business confidence will most probably pursue a moderate but cautious path to recovery, and the meetings and events industry will follow
· More organisations showing signs of increased bookings in 2010
· Organisations will continue to select destinations and venues not considered extravagant or luxurious
· Number of business trips projected to move upward in second half of 2010, gathering more momentum in 2011
· Continued strong demand for face to face meetings

For further details, visit www.EIBTM.com

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