Steady growth for M&E sector in 2019: AMEX GBT

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A decade after the 2008 global economic recession, the meetings industry has bounced back and settled into a new normal of steady and stable growth, according to the 2019 Global Meetings and Events Forecast by American Express Meetings & Events (M&E), a division of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT).

In 2019, global meetings activity is expected to grow along with small increases in budget allocation for meetings and events. Consolidation across the industry and the rise of disruptive suppliers creates an environment where meeting planners feel more pressure but also have more choice. This dynamic allows the industry to collectively tackle long-term challenges, such as live inventory for small and simple meetings, and increased opportunities for attendee engagement. Regional forecasts are also optimistic, reflecting overall industry sentiment.

The meetings industry has achieved consistent growth in spend and attendees for the fourth consecutive year, solidifying its value as a business enabler

Surveyed planners agreed that the General Data Protection Regulation is impacting the industry far beyond Europe where the regulation was developed. As emerging technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and facial recognition transform meetings and events and create more data, compliance and privacy concerns will only grow in importance. These technologies offer attendees what they’re becoming accustomed to in their daily lives, making meetings more immersive and engaging.

“2019 will be a growth year for the meetings industry, with activity expected to increase across all meeting types and regions,” said Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president & general manager at American Express M&E. “The challenge before planners is mastering this volume, while working with the reality of expenses increasing at a higher rate than meetings budgets. Strategic meetings built around defined goals that prioritise the attendee experience and embrace technology will continue to elevate meetings as a business tool despite these challenges.”

In the Asia-Pacific, planners are striving to do more with less in the region. Growth is predicted, and while costs are balanced for now, they are rising faster than corporate meetings budgets. This creates pressure for ROI. As a result, one quarter of planners across the region are choosing second-tier destinations to defray costs, up from only 3% the previous year.

Interestingly, priorities for per-attendee spend vary greatly across the region: companies in Japan spend most on incentives, in China the priority is senior leadership meetings, while in Australia, product launches receive the most attention.

The eighth annual Global Meetings Industry Forecast takes a new format for 2019, while continuing to deliver comprehensive data relevant to all those within the industry. New infographics in each section summarise key data points and trends from our global survey of meetings professionals and suppliers, industry data, and in-depth interviews with planners and buyers, meeting, air, and ground suppliers worldwide. The forecast, conducted by American Express Meetings & Events, examines budgets, spend, the number of meetings, and other industry-specific metrics by geographic region.

For the full report, click here to download.

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