For the second consecutive year, the multi-billion dollar global meetings industry will experience solid increases in key economic impact indicators including spending, international travel, employment and training budgets underscoring overall fiscal and corporate health, according to FutureWatch 2005, an annual report by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and American Express.
Globally, meeting planners in segments such as corporate, independent and association/non-profit, forecast a 5 percent budget increase in 2005, building on a 3 percent increase in 2004. Beyond year-over-year percent estimation, planners also divulged actual budget figures for 2005. When compared to 2004, there is more room for optimism in 2005 as corporate planners report average budgets of $7.1 million vs. last year’s $5.3 million; independent budgets climbed to $11.8 million over $6.1 million; and association budgets up to $4.8 million from $1.4 million. The continued growth of independent planner budgets indicates outsourcing will likely remain a viable industry model even upon full market recovery.
“The health of the meetings industry mirrors that of business and the economy in general,” said Colin Rorrie Jr., PhD, CAE, president and CEO of MPI. “Increased meeting spend is fuel for a worldwide economic engine. Anecdotal predictions of the demise of face-to-face meetings due to technology or economic challenges haven’t come to pass. Rather, organizations are recognizing the value of events as a strategic business tool.”