‘The mood of our industry, as reflected in the conclusions of the vast majority of the surveys used in the compilation of this report, has changed to one of quiet optimism’ was the opening statement presented in the EIBTM Trends Watch session, which was delivered by Rob Davidson, EIBTM industry analyst at the show (www.eibtm.com).
‘This change comes about in recognition of the fact that the move from the fragile recovery of 2012 to a more sustained upturn in the world economy of 2013 has been reflected in growing global demand for meetings, events and business travel. Similarly almost all forecasts for 2014 indicate increasing levels of optimist and growth in these three sectors, albeit modest.’
Key themes presented in the EIBTM Knowledge session included:
Inversion of growth patterns: 2013 has seen a significant inversion of those growth patterns, which had become the norm, since the global economic downturn. Advanced economies are gradually strengthening while at the same time, growth in emerging market economies has slowed down.
Recovery of the corporate meetings sector: Responsible for much of the optimism witnessed in the meetings industry is the recovery in the corporate meetings sector. ‘Over the past 12 months, there have been numerous indications that companies are increasingly loosening their purse-strings and boosting their spending on corporate events.’
Significant increase in international association business: According to the MPI Business Barometer report, ‘ the outlook of European Industry professionals became markedly more optimistic in the two month period following their previous survey’ with predicted business level growth rates rising from two per cent to four per cent signifying that ‘signs of improved economic stability and increased meetings activity in the domestic corporate and international association sector have bolstered stronger confidence in the European market.’
Incentive travel is making a come back: ‘Optimism abounds among professionals operating in the global incentive travel sector’ according to key research published over the past twelve months. The SITE Index, published by the Society of Incentive Travel Executives revealed that ‘the overall use of motivational travel experiences was on an upswing’, with 86 per cent of respondents predicting that it will increase (or substantially increase) in the next one to three years.