MPI: Remote Access to Meetings to Increase

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Dallas, TX – The high ROI provided by trade shows and meetings means clients will be unwilling to give up on face-to-face events even though attendance and budgets will be lower in 2009.

The preliminary results of the FutureWatch 2009 survey released December 9 by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) said planners were bracing for a rough year although technology used both on-site and for remote access to content and the actual sessions would help keep costs down and participation up.

“After three strong years, the global meeting and event industry is coming to grips with a paradigm shift,” said MPI President and CEO Bruce MacMillan. “The FutureWatch data reveals how acute the expectations are for change.”

FutureWatch 2009 was produced by MPI and American Express and surveyed 2,740 MPI members through November 11, 2008. The final results will be unveiled at MPI’s 2009 Meet Different conference in Atlanta February 7-10.

Among the preliminary findings released were:

▪  Meeting and event budgets were expected to fall 6% in 2009 after the 2008 report had projected a 22.6% increase. About 12% of association meeting planners expected some level of budget reductions in 2009.

▪  Client-side planners were predicting a 5% drop in attendance in the U.S. but a 9% increase in Canada and 3% increase in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) market.

▪  Even more significance will be placed on documenting ROI in 2009 with 74% of meetings already offering such measurements.

▪  Planners and suppliers agree that an increase in “creativity and innovation” would help the industry through the rough spots in 2009, although that includes “currently unknown standards and practices.”

MacMillan said the survey results and educational initiatives such as MPI’s Global Knowledge Plan would assist in the development of new ideas that could be quickly deployed across the industry. “Our objective is to not only ensure that our members survive but also find ways to thrive as the industry retrenches,” he said.

Reach Bruce MacMillan at (972) 702-3001 or bmacmillan@mpiweb.org