The outlook for the U.S. meetings industry is improving after 18 months of declining demand, according to a survey commissioned by PCMA, the PCMA Educational Foundation and American Express.
The survey of 505 U.S. meeting planners was conducted by Ypartnership.
According to the survey, when planners were asked about their intentions regarding off-site meetings planned for 2010 and 2011 in comparison to 2009, respondents indicated they booked a net increase of 15 percent more meetings—approximately 17 more meetings per planner—in 2010, and a net increase of 24 percent more meetings for 2011.
Respondents also expect a net increase in off-site meetings of 23 percent in 2010 and 38 percent in 2011 when compared to 2009 numbers.
“While it’s been a difficult eighteen months for our industry, I’m encouraged to see both actual business as well as business sentiment improving,” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA. “There continues to be caution in budgets and costs controls, which is to be expected, but if we can stay on this positive trend path there are certainly brighter days ahead for meetings.”
Other highlights included the following: only 6 percent stated they were planning to postpone, cancel or rebook meetings in 2010 because of “current economic conditions,” versus 41 percent who cited this reason in 2009; 89 percent stated they were not planning to postpone, cancel or rebook any meetings they had already booked in 2010 and 2011, versus 54 percent who shared this sentiment in 2009.
According to the survey, meeting planner anxiety will still affect some major markets.
When asked what segments they perceive should be avoided, respondents indicated the following:
Resorts: net decrease of 7 percent
Convention centers: net decrease of 4 percent
Cruise ships: net decrease of 15 percent
Hotels: net increase of 25 percent
Conference centers: net increase of 1 percent
When asked what ranges of facilities they will seek, the following responses emerged:
Mid-scale: net increase of 18 percent
Upscale: net increase of 1 percent
Upper upscale: net decrease of 19 percent
Luxury: net decrease of 24 percent