Declining budgets, increased workload, and the responsiveness of suppliers top the list of international meeting planners' concerns, according to destination marketing company Development Counsellors International (DCI), which has published the second edition of its comprehensive "A View from Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing" survey.
A follow-up to DCI's 2012 report of the same name, this year's "A View from Meeting Planners" survey engaged 212 meeting professionals to determine the industry's biggest challenges and trends. Among its key findings:
• Destination marketing organizations/convention and visitors bureaus (67 percent), business/personal travel (63 percent), and dialogue with industry peers (60 percent) are the three leading sources of information influencing meeting planner perceptions of potential sites.
• Introductions to new suppliers and destinations at industry trade shows, knowledge of suppliers in-destination, and referrals from colleagues are the most influential steps in the destination sourcing process, according to meeting professionals.
• More than half of meeting professionals cite cost as a top decision point influencing their final destination choice; that was followed by flight accessibility from the United States and Canada and destination "wow" factor.
• More than half (54 percent) of meeting professionals said they rely primarily on convention bureaus for information when evaluating destinations; 55 percent said email is their preferred method of communication with CVB representatives.
• Meeting face-to-face -- at trade shows, receptions, or educational workshops -- is the most effective means of influencing them to consider a new destination, according to meeting planners.
• Eighty-eight percent of meeting professionals consider educational trips as either important or very important in influencing their perception of destinations.
• Meeting professionals' most favored locations for an international meeting are London, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, and Amsterdam; Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain are planners' preferred countries.
• Meeting professionals' least favored locations for international meetings are the Middle East, Mexico, Russia, Paris, and Istanbul/Turkey.
"A View from Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing" is available for download in its entirety from DCI's website