December 02, 2010
Although it's been slow, the shift from recession to recovery has nonetheless occurred for the meetings industry, according to EIBTM, which released its annual "EIBTM Global Industry Trends and Market Share Report" yesterday on the opening day of its 2010 show, taking place Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 in Barcelona.

According to the report, 2010 has been a transition year for meetings and incentives, both of which can expect growth in 2011.

"Whilst for 2010 most economists were divided on whether the global recovery would grow, stall or even reverse, now at the end of the year there is talk about favorable prospects for global recovery, albeit slow and uneven," said EIBTM Industry Analyst Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in business travel and tourism at the University of Westminster in London, who compiled the report. "However, the vast majority of indicators for the meetings and events industry point to improved business conditions ahead in 2011."

As proof of an industry turnaround, EIBTM cites 2010 MPI Business Barometers; in August, for instance, 62 percent of survey respondents told MPI that current business conditions are better than a year ago, and 70 percent that they predict better upcoming business conditions.

Meanwhile, EIBTM also has examined industry trends by sector and region. Among its key findings:

• Worldwide, meetings spend is "seriously conservative, highly image conscious and focused on the basics."

• Corporate meetings are strongest in Europe, which has seen the largest net increase in meetings activity this year.

• Corporate meetings are experiencing shorter lead times — from 30 to 45 days, on average — in the United States.

• Association meetings are strongest in the United States.

• There is a strong demand for educational content and sustainability at association meetings.

• In the United States, the number of off-site meetings was expected to grow in 2010, and is expected to continue growing in 2011.

• North American planners are less likely to postpone, cancel or rebook future meetings in 2010 than they were in 2009.

• In the United States, planners are no longer concerned about negative publicity associated with upscale property choices or destinations.

• Seven of the top 10 destinations for association meetings are in Europe.

• In Europe, average meeting spend is up, to €175 in 2010 from €150 in 2009.

• Cancellations in Europe are down from 15 percent in 2010 to 10 percent in 2009.

• More destinations are targeting China for meetings and events business.

For more information, including complete EIBTM findings, visit www.eibtm.com