Outlook 2017: Trends to watch
Industry veterans tell Karen Yue what will shape the various business event and corporate travel sectors in 2017
Greeley Koch, executive director, Association of Corporate Travel Executives
Political US trade policy might reduce the country’s international footprint, leading China to increase trade between the Asia region and Europe, creating more business travel within the region.
Social With social media sites like Facebook, WeChat and Instagram boosting the image of travel, more and more millennials are spending their free time and money on extending business trips for personal pleasure, a trend known as ‘bleisure’.
Personal Business travellers are putting a much higher priority on finding a work/life balance on the road. The result will be a much stronger emphasis on the quality of sleep, maintaining a proper diet, and supporting an exercise regimen. This will have definite implications for the hospitality sector throughout Asia.
Rajeev Kohli, president, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence
Growing recognition of the impact of incentive travel Ninety-nine per cent of buyers (who participated in the the 2017 SITE Index) believe that incentive travel is effective in achieving important business objectives. Sixty per cent report they plan to increase the number of people eligible for incentive travel awards and nearly half have increased budgets.
Impact of world economy A majority of both buyers and sellers (in the incentive travel space) say that the world economy has the potential to negatively impact their travel programmes in 2017. Creating value becomes paramount amid economic concerns.
Greater need to prove value Measuring the effectiveness of incentive programmes is limited with less than 25 per cent of buyers “always” or “almost always” tracking return on investment. Lack of measurement could make these programmes vulnerable during tough economic times.
The scourge of terrorism Almost 80 per cent of buyers see a negative impact of terrorism on their ability to plan and implement incentive travel programmes, and one in four believe tightening of border security will also have an impact.
Mark Cochrane, regional manager, UFI – The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry
Changing venue landscape New venue capacity continues to shape key markets. In Shanghai, after opening in 2015, National Exhibition and Convention Center continues to impact China’s largest exhibition market. New or expanded venues in Jakarta, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur are on the horizon and are expected to unlock growth in those key markets in 2017 and beyond.
Strain on the exhibition labour pool More than a decade of rapid growth has made the Asian exhibition industry the envy of the rest of the world, but there is a downside. Organisers, venues and service providers are struggling to find and retain talented, experienced staff. Look for increased investment in training – especially for mid-level managers.
Emphasis on health and safety Rapid growth and strains on the labour pool have also increasingly put an emphasis on risk mitigation for international organisers operating in Asia. Increased attention on (occupational) health and safety best practices will be an important trend extending well beyond 2017.
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