Meetings are roaring back, and 2015 is the year planners and properties are raising their game
When a corporate client looking for something a little different for its annual awards event hired Pennsylvania-based Unique Venues, the company scrambled to find a venue to give the client something to cheer about. They found it. The awards event was booked into a hospitality suite in Penn State University’s 109,000-seat Beaver Stadium overlooking the jumbo-sized scoreboard. As the company awards were announced, the names of the winners were flashed on the scoreboard for all to see.
If meetings, incentives, conferences and events forecasters are reading from the right playbook, 2015 will produce more winners in the MICE industry than in any year since the onset of the Great Recession in 2007 and 2008. As a result of growth – and to prime the pump for still more growth – planners and properties are raising their game.
Some meeting planners and executives at convention and visitor bureaus, city hotels and lush resort properties are downright bullish about the year ahead. Many credit client-friendly industry trends such as the embrace of ever-more sophisticated consumer technology, do-your-own food and beverage programs and an intensifying use of social media to plan and promote events and get real-time feedback about meetings for the current rise in commerce.
Scores & Stats
The biggest driver may be a surging US economy, though weakness in Europe and Japan, slowing growth rates in China and rising industry costs add cautionary notes.
American Express Meetings and Events, in its annual global forecast, notes that in 2015 in North America, the total number of meetings is expected to grow 0.3 percent year-over-year, with the number of attendees edging up 0.2 percent.
Training meetings are the largest category by number and also exhibit the greatest expected growth – 0.9 percent – followed by senior leadership meetings and board meetings, at 0.7 percent.