American Express Meetings & Events’ survey indicates a worldwide increase in off-site business meetings and events in 2012. 

The hotel industry will experience a revenue boost from this segment, but because businesses expect to have shorter and smaller meetings that are closer to home, hoteliers surveyed said they expect the uptick to be slight.

In North America, 42 percent of those surveyed expect in business, but companies will find ways to get the most out of their meeting budgets in 2012. Big cities will continue to attract the  most activity, while second-tier markets will glean a chunk of the business.

Internationally, one third (33 percent) of hoteliers surveyed expect decreasing budgets per individual meeting, while only 7 percent expect increases.

 ‘In many cases, meetings and event spend is an indicator of outward facing organizations connecting with their clients and prospects, and well run meetings and events can be leading drivers of new business and growth for organizations,’ said Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events. ‘Even in the face of economic uncertainty, meeting industry stakeholders appear to be cautiously optimistic as they report an increase in services and property demand from clients.’

The North America meetings market was fairly robust in 2011 and is expected to grow in 2012 according to the planner survey results from Maxvantage, the strategic alliance between American Express Meetings & Events and Maritz Travel in the region. This market continues to lead others in looking for new ways to optimize meetings spending and up the return on experience. With the number of meetings expected to increase, the survey indicates companies are conscious of avoiding any negative opinions of perceived excessive spending.



2012 North America – Maxvantage Planner Snapshot


·         Number of meetings expected: 80 percent expect to increase or maintain the number of meetings

·         Number of attendees per meeting: 25 percent will decrease the number of attendees while 45 percent expect about the same

·         Meeting locations: 71 percent booking in primary/large cities; 31 percent in secondary cities; 13 percent shifting bookings from primary cities to second-tier cities

·         Planner lead time: 62 percent expect decreases in their lead time for planning meetings and 7 percent expect an increase

Global meeting trends in 2012


·         Shorter and Smaller: The number of attendees per meeting will likely decrease as will the number of days, according to 40 percent and 33 percent of hotel suppliers respectively. Driving this trend is a demand to do more with less as companies look to hold a higher number of meetings.

·         Closer to Home: Suppliers indicated planners want meetings closer to their businesses, with 53 percent of their clients requesting more local meetings. This is also likely tied to the effort to keep individual meeting costs down.

·         Fuller Agendas: Noting that their clients’ ‘focus on meeting content is more critical than ever,’ hotel suppliers expect to see more incentive programs infused with business focused content, with 47 percent of customers planning to combine meetings and incentives.

·         More Green: Hotel suppliers noted 47 percent of meeting clients have green request/requirements for their events. Meeting planners corroborated this trend with 73 percent indicating clients are showing increasing interest in reporting green measures. However, it’s not yet impacting property decisions.

·         Venue Selection: The Meetings Forecast reveals a shift away from bookings in luxury or resort properties with the exception of meetings within Asia Pacific and Latin America. According to suppliers 40 percent are seeing an uptick in demand for these properties.