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Budgets expected to drop 6% in 2009
The meetings industry faces a tough market in 2009 but it is not likely to be as severe as expected, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) said in its annual FutureWatch survey.
The association, which represents executives in the meetings industry, said the main findings were that:
MPI said that in the 2008 survey, respondents had predicted a 22.6% increase in company budgets for meetings and events.
In this year's poll it said that 17% of corporate meetings planners, 12% of association meetings planners and 10% of public organisation planners said they expected a fall in their budgets.
The planners working for public bodies said they expected smaller decreases in their budgets.
The survey found that planners expected new standards to emerge during the downturn which would make the industry more efficient and effective.
But while planners working for clients expected to see a 9% drop in business, meeting management professionals said they expected only a marginal 0.5% fall.
The survey found that meeting professional believed that face to face meetings gave the best return on investment of any marketing tool.
It said 74% of companies which held meetings and events measured the return on investment.
MPI said that the industry was set to "sharpen its focus and streamline its activities."
But it said the affect of the downturn would not be as severe as feared.
While there would be a 5% decline in meeting attendance per meeting in the US, there would be a 3% increase in the EMEA region and a 9% rise in Canada.
Bruce MacMillan, MPI's president and ceo, said: "After three strong years, the global meeting and event industry is coming to grips with a major paradigm shift and the FutureWatch data reveals how acute the expectations are for change.
"Through initiatives like our Global Knowledge Plan, our objective is not only to ensure our members survive the shift, but also to find ways to thrive as the industry retrenches in an ebbing economic cycle."
The survey, conducted with American Express, had a record participation of more than 2,700 respondents.
The full results of the survey will be released at MPI's MeetDifferent conference in Atlanta on February 7-10.