A new poll suggests that meeting planners are optimistic that companies, associations and other groups will hold more business-related gatherings in 2012.The IMEX Group asked 200 North American meeting planners during the first quarter to describe their mood for the latest "IMEX America Index of Optimism" poll.
Among the highlights of the research: 88 percent of respondents said they'd attracted new sources of business in the previous six months; that's better than the 77 percent from IMEX Group's July 2011 poll; 79 percent reported feeling more optimistic than in the summer of 2011, versus 66 percent last July; 53 percent said there was evidence that large meetings and events are attracting greater numbers of attendees, versus 50 percent last July.
Last month, Host Hotels CEO Ed Walter said that the growth in Host's hotels' banquet business seen in the last three months of 2011 continued in the first three months of 2012.
"Several larger hotels experienced good increases in banquet activity," he said.
But not everything's rosy. While planners see more meetings being booked, companies and associations aren't necessarily spending more, the poll results suggest. Just 38 percent of respondents said spending per participant was up at these meetings—but 40 percent said it wasn't higher.
When it comes to concerns, meeting planners cited high gas prices, job creation and global economic uncertainty, as well as—to a lesser extent—November's presidential election.
Courtesy of USA Today