Venues have the upper hand in negotiations with U.S. meeting planners, and they'll continue to have it for the foreseeable future, according to Dr. Rob Davidson, managing director of MICE Knowledge, a London-based research and consulting firm specializing in meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions.
An industry analyst for Reed Travel Exhibitions' IBTM World exhibition -- formerly EIBTM -- Davidson will present a "Trends Watch" session at this year's event, taking place Nov. 17-19 in Barcelona. His forecast about the U.S. sellers' market is one of several predictions he previewed today in order to tease his upcoming presentation.
"In the U.S., where hotel supply is up, with almost 100,000 new rooms added in 2015, demand for meetings continues to grow at up to quadruple the rate of supply. That means that the U.S. is experiencing a suppliers' market, with pricing power set to remain in the hands of hoteliers until the second half of 2016," said Davidson, who will deliver his "Trend Watch" session twice at IBTM World.
Globally, Davidson observes positive growth across key indicators of the meetings industry's health, including attendance, budgets, exhibitors, and revenues, all of which remain positive.
"A number of surveys of meetings industry associations point to ongoing expansion in meetings and events business, with expectations that 2015 will prove to be more prosperous than the previous year," continued Davidson, who noted important regional variations. "As the global economy continues to change at an uneven rate, depending upon which world region is under consideration, the outlook for the meetings industry also varies along broad geographical zones."
Finally, Davidson suggested that dramatic changes are in store in the area of meeting design.
"In 2015, we are seeing radical qualitative changes in the ways in which meetings are designed," he concluded. "And forward-looking venues are adapting their offer to meet the evolving demands of new-generation meeting planners and attendees."