Content Guide 2009:Executive Summary ...................................02 The Year of the EconomyBudgets......................................................04Meetings ....................................................05 2009 is shaping up as a decisive year forIndustry .....................................................07Industry Responds.. ...................................09 the global meetings and events industry,Venues........................................................10Technology .................................................11 in which cost savings, value, flexibility,CSR ............................................................12Relationships .............................................13 and innovation will be the key drivers ofAbout FutureWatch 2009 .................14 success.Data collection for this survey was conductedfrom November 11, 2008 - November 27, 2008.*Please note: FutureWatch 2009 revealed the issues thatIn every instance where the title “meetingprofessional” is referred to, it is meant to be MPI members are facing and the practicalinclusive of the “event professional” as well. steps they are taking to position meetings and events as an essential resource in addressing the immediate challenges of a tightening economy. A Comparative Outlook on the Global Business of Meetings 1
ExecutiveSummary cover once the economy improves. • Meeting planners anticipate a 9% decrease in the number of meet- still see face-to-face meetings as the most effective tool for a variety of purposes that are central to theirBased on responses from 2,740 ings their organizations will hold organizational missions: to buildmeeting professionals in 53 coun- in 2009, a 3% decrease in staffing, relationships and trust, engendertries, and in all 70 MPI chapters and a 5% increase in the number of a sense of community, conductand clubs, FutureWatch 2009 found meetings they will personally plan, highly interactive programs, en-that: manage, or support. gage participants at an emotional level, and demonstrate new prod-• Meeting planners and suppliers • Suppliers expect a 9% decrease ucts that require physical use, fromexpect that global economic uncer- in the number of meetings their medical devices to sporting goods.tainty will lead to continued reduc- organizations will support, a 4%tions in bookings, travel, meeting decrease in staffing, and a 9% • Faced with a tough global mar-and event budgets, staffing, and increase in the number of meetings ket, the meeting and event indus-event attendance. The overall trend they will personally plan, manage,will continue, they say, until the or support.broader economy begins to re-bound. • Independent meeting manage- ment professionals are preparing Meeting planners• Corporate meeting planners arealready changing the way they for a 0.5% decrease in the number of meetings their organizations will anticipate a 9%do their jobs in response to seri-ous budget reductions, and 17% support. But their expectations for the year ahead vary considerably decrease in thepredict further cuts in 2009. Twelvepercent of association planners by region, with US independents predicting a decline in business but number ofand 10% of government plannersexpect budget cuts in the next year. their counterparts in EMEA, and especially Canada, expecting more meetings their• Across all meetings, FutureWatch activity. organizations will2009 respondents expect net profitper meeting to increase by 2%, • In the second half of 2008, organ- izations cancelled an average of 4.1 hold in 2009while gross revenue per meeting meetings, representing 8% of thedeclines by 8%. total for that period. For 2009, orga- try in 2009 will sharpen its focus nizations have already cancelled an and streamline its activities to the• As a percentage of organizations’ average of 3.4 meetings, represent- necessities of economic life. Plan-overall budgets, meetings will ing 7% of all scheduled activity, at ners’ operational decisions will bedecrease by 6% in 2009. an average value of US$200,000 per driven overwhelmingly by cost, meeting. secondarily by practicalities like• Attendance, per meeting, is ex- airlift for destinations, and custom-pected to increase by 3% in Europe, • As funds become more scarce, er service for hotels and meetingMiddle East, and Africa (EMEA) meeting professionals expect a venues.and 9% in Canada, but decline by greater effort to anticipate Return5% in the United States. U.S. plan- on Investment before a meeting • The overall relationship betweenners expect 15% fewer attendees is booked, based on past per- planners and suppliers is becomingat association meetings but 12% formance, attendee satisfaction, a buyer’s market, where plannershigher numbers at corporate meet- adherence to budget, and the abil- can expect to negotiate more gener-ings. ity to negotiate “extras” like free ous concessions, incentives, rates, transportation and complimentary and other contract provisions.• Across all regions, 12% of asso- meals. Competitive bids will be Planners and suppliers alike expectciation planners expect conference sought more frequently, while to build more flexibility into theirattendance to decline in 2009, due options such as open bars, gifts, contracts to account for an uncer-to corporate budget cuts and high formal dinners, and entertainment tain market.travel costs. A small number of as- will face greater scrutiny.sociation planners also expect their • Planners predict a scant 2% in-organizations to lose members. crease in average expenditure perMembership numbers and confer- The Industry Responds meeting between 2008 and 2009.ence attendance are expected to re- • Meeting and event professionals Just a year earlier, respondents to
FutureWatch 2008 predicted 11%growth in meeting budgets anda 22.6% increase in spending on indi-vidual meetings.• About 25% of meeting profession-als around the world expect that areduction in the number of availableflights will reshape the way theyplan and conduct meetings.• Although meeting organizationswill be on the lookout for employeeswith the right training, education,experience, and attitude, about 7%of meeting professionals predict ashortage of qualified staff in 2009.• Planners and suppliers are stillin the market for technologies thatwill help them meet specific objec-tives related to attendee feedback,onsite Internet access and wirelessnetworking, customer relationshipmanagement, audio-visual services,and buyer-seller relationships. How-ever, they are not always satisfiedwith the technology choices avail-able to them.• FutureWatch 2009 respondentssee virtual meetings as an importanttrend, and many of them predicted ashift to Web-based learning as a wayto control meeting and travel costs.However, they are not entirely con-vinced that the enabling technolo-gies are ready for prime time.• One in 10 FutureWatch 2009respondents predicted a continu-ing trend toward greener, moreenvironmentally friendly meetings,with specific features ranging fromrecycled name badges and biode-gradable signage to reduced fuelconsumption and paperless meet-ings.• Although 61% of respondents re-ported that corporate social respon-sibility (CSR) was important to theirorganizations, specific CSR initia-tives may be delayed in organiza-tions that see them as non-essentialin an uncertain economy. A Comparative Outlook on the Global Business of Meetings 3
Economy Impacts Budgetsand AttendanceUltimately, the 2,740 meeting planners and suppliers whoresponded to this year’s FutureWatch survey tie the healthof meetings and events to the broader economic picture.Over the next year, they expect that global economic uncer-tainty will lead to continued reductions in bookings, travel,meeting and event budgets, staffing, and event attendance.The overall trend will continue, they say, until the broadereconomy begins to rebound.Meeting Planners Predicting Budget Cuts In 2009 Meeting Organization Budgets Per Meeting 2008-2009 Sector % All Corporate Association Corporate Planners 17 2008 2009 2008 2009 2008 2009 Association Planners 12 Under US$10,0000 15.9 16.7 14.1 15.3 17.1 17.6 Government Planners 10 US$10,000-$49,999 24.3 24.8 23.9 23.4 25.5 26.6 US$50,000-$99,000 20.0 19.9 22.0 23.4 25.5 26.6 US$100,000-$199,999 12.3 12.5 12.6 12.7 11.8 12.2• Corporate meeting planners are already changing the waythey do their jobs in response to serious budget reductions, US$200,000-$499,999 13.4 12.5 15.1 13.0 11.9 12.6and 17% predict further cuts in 2009. The biggest changes US$500,000-$999,999 8.8 8.1 6.9 6.5 11.9 10.8have occurred in the United States, but the pattern is repeat- US$1 million or more 5.2 5.5 5.3 5.8 5.2 5.4ing in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regionand Canada. Anticipated staff reductions will require meet-ing professionals to work harder in 2009, either by steppingup their sales and marketing or by taking on extra duties. Expected Change in Meeting Attendance, 2008-2009• About 10% of government planners worldwide predictbudget cuts in 2009. Several reported that their meetings are Association Corporate Government All Planners“required,” and therefore less vulnerable to the economic EMEA N/A -28%* -37%* +3%*pressures facing the private sector. Canada +21%* -31%* 0%* +9% US -15% +12% -4% -5% Organizational Spend on Meetings 2008-2009 (%) *Accuracy may be limited by small sample size All Corporate Association • Across the industry, FutureWatch 2009 respondents 2008 2009 2008 2009 2008 2009 predict that meeting attendance, per meeting, will increase Under US$10,0000 3.8 3.2 3.2 2.5 4.7 4.3 by 3% in EMEA and 9% in Canada, but decline by 5% in the United States. US planners expect 15% fewer attendees at US$10,000-$49,999 2.9 3.3 2.4 2.4 3.6 4.3 association meetings but 12% higher numbers at corporate US$50,000-$99,000 3.8 5.4 3.2 5.0 4.7 5.9 meetings US$100,000-$199,999 7.5 8.9 5.1 7.9 10.5 10.1 • Across all regions, 12% of association planners expect US$200,000-$499,999 14.4 15.0 14.1 13.7 14.6 16.6 conference attendance to decline in 2009, due to corporate US$500,000-$999,999 6.9 9.8 8.6 7.9 13.5 12.3 budget cuts and high travel costs. A small number of as- US$1,000,000-$4,999,999 35.1 34.8 34.4 34.3 36.5 35.3 sociation planners also expect their organizations to lose members. Membership numbers and conference attendance US$5,000,000 or more 25.6 19.6 29.0 26.3 11.9 11.2 are expected to recover once the economy improves.
More Profit from Fewer MeetingsAcross all meetings, FutureWatch 2009 respondents expect net profit Profitability of Meetings, 2008-2009per meeting to increase by 2%, while gross revenue per meeting de-clines by 8%. However, while the next year will see no change in the 2008 2009proportion of meetings that generate a profit, the association sectorwill see a 16.5% decline in profitable meeting ventures, from 49.1% Association 49.1% 41.0%of all meetings in 2008 to 41% in 2009. The increase in the proportion Corporate 21.3% 24.9%of corporate meetings that generate a profit in 2009 will be almost,but not quite, statistically significant. All Meetings 32.2% 32.4%As a percentage of organizations’ overall budgets, meetings will fallby 6% in 2009.Fewer Meetings, More WorkFutureWatch 2009 respondents predict a decline in meeting and Expected Change in Meetings Activity, 2008-2009event volume and professional staffing over the next year, combinedwith an increase in work load for individual planners and suppliers. Category Total Total PersonallySignificantly, while client-side planners foresee a 9% drop in volume, Meetings Staffing Planindependent meeting management professionals expect only amarginal reduction of 0.5%. This either indicates a re-emergence of Planners -9% -3% +5%outsourcing, or independents’ hope that organizations will offset Suppliers -4% -4% +9%staff reductions by relying more heavily on external services. Independents -0.5% -4% +4%• Meeting planners anticipate a 9% decrease in the number of meet-ings their organizations will hold in 2009, a 3% decrease in staffing,and a 5% increase in the number of meetings they will personally Supplier Business Activity Trends, 2008-2009plan, manage, or support. Planners expect to take direct responsibil- 40 39.5%ity for 1% more meetings in EMEA, 3% more in Canada, and 6% 35more in the United States. 30• Suppliers expect a 4% decrease in the number of meetings their 25organizations will support, a 4% decrease in staffing, and a 9% 20increase in the number of meetings they will personally manage or 14.8%support. The chart shows the differences in business activity trends 15 11.0% 12.0%by region, including the increases suppliers expect to see in their 10 7.6%personal work loads. 5 4.8% 2.0% 0 Canada EMEA U.S. ...independents hope that -5 -3.3% -4.0% organizations will offset staff Organizationally Supported M/E Personally Supported M/E reductions by relying more Number of Personal Proposals heavily on external services. Expected Change in Meetings that Meeting Management Professionals’ Organizations Will Support, 2008-2009• Independent meeting management professionals are preparing for Planners Suppliers Alla 0.5% decrease in the number of meetings their organizations willsupport. But their expectations for the year ahead vary considerably EMEA +7% +4%* +5%by region, with US independents predicting a decline in business but Canada +23%* +23%* +30%their counterparts in EMEA, and especially Canada, expecting moreactivity. U.S. -2% -5% -3% *Accuracy may be limited by small sample size A Comparative Outlook on the Global Business of Meetings 5
• Independents predict a 4% decrease in staffing, and a 4% increase in the number of meetings they will personallyConsistent with the results plan, manage, or support. In EMEA and Canada, they alsoin the second half of 2008, expect to spend considerably more time writing propos- als. Five percent of independents expect outsourcing toorganizations cancelled an increase in 2009, although fewer than 1% of client-side planners or suppliers expressed the same expectation.average of 4.1 meetings, rep- In the second half of 2008, organizations cancelled an aver-resenting 8% of the total for age of 4.1 meetings, representing 8% of the total for that period. For 2009, organizations have already cancelled anthat period. For 2009, orga- average of 3.4 meetings, representing 7% of all scheduled activity, at an average value of US$200,000 per meeting.nizations have already can- Among corporate planners, 40% in North America and 30% in EMEA already report cancellations for the comingcelled an average of 3.4 meet- year, and nearly one-fifth of all meeting planners (19%) remain uncertain about meetings scheduled for 2009.ings, representing 7% of all In response to open-ended questions, about 2% of Future-scheduled activity... Watch participants predicted that the long-term strength and value of the meetings industry would reassert itself, regardless of difficult times in 2009.Top Six Influences on Meetings for 2009, by Respondent Type and Region Planners Suppliers Meeting Management Professionals Greatest Influence US EMEA Canada US EMEA Canada US EMEA Canada More economic concerns 1† 1 5 3 1 2 1 1 Lower budgets 2 1† 3† 1 4† 2 1 3 2† More remote/virtual meetings 1 3 4 3 2 4 3† 5 More green meetings 4 2 2 1 2 4 Fewer face-to-face meetings 3 4 2 4† 4 5 2† Focus on value/ROI 1† 4† 5† 4 3 More in-house/drive meetings 6 5 4 3 Less overall travel 3† 5† Political uncertainty 3† Fewer “frills” 5 Fewer industry jobs 5 Smaller meetings 6 6† Two or more factors tied with the same percentage
Value for MoneyAs funds become more scarce, planners and suppliers will Expected Change in Proposal-Writing, Meetingmore often have to demonstrate a return on investment Management Professionals, 2008-2009 (ROI) for every meeting—and every part of a meeting.About three-quarters of organizations currently conduct Planners Suppliers Allsome form of in-house meetings evaluation, although the EMEA +7% +29%* +16%most common measure is still attendee satisfaction, alongwith revenue and adherence to budget. Canada +71%* +9%* +34% U.S. -2% +1% +0%In 2009, meeting professionals expect a greater effort toanticipate ROI before a meeting is booked, based on past *Accuracy may be limited by small sample sizeperformance, attendee satisfaction, adherence to budget,and the ability to negotiate “extras” like free transportationand complimentary meals. Competitive bids will be sought Meeting Planners Reporting Cancellations for 2009, by Categorymore frequently, while “frills” like open bars, gifts, formaldinners, and entertainment for accompanying persons will Association Corporate Governmentface greater scrutiny. Beyond immediate budget concerns,these changes will reflect the growing need for meetings to EMEA 7%* 30% 33%be seen as fiscally responsible. Canada 4% 40% 33% U.S. 25% 40% 25%Industry Influences *Accuracy may be limited by small sample sizeOnce again for 2009, respondents were asked to list the in-fluences that will have the greatest impact on the industry.While answers varied by respondent type and region, thecommon themes were clear: Almost all the major influ-ences had to do with the economy, jobs, or the need for the ...the common themes were clear: Almost all the majorindustry to respond by cutting costs and demonstratingvalue. influences had to do with the economy, jobs, or the need for the industry to re- spond by cutting costs and demonstrating value. A Comparative Outlook on the Global Business of Meetings 7
Within organizations, meetings decision-making is oftenshaped by marketing, procurement, and travel depart-ments. FutureWatch 2009 revealed differences in the wayclient-side planners, third-party planners, and independentsuppliers perceived those influences. In-house planners Influence of Various Departments on Canada Meeting Plannersreported that marketing has the most significant input to 40their work, generally followed by procurement. Consistent 37.5%with the results of MPI’s annual EventView survey, this 35 33.9% 32.7%finding confirms meetings as a leading component of the 30.8% 30.8%marketing mix in a time of economic turmoil. 30 24.5% 25Third-party planners attributed the greatest influenceto procurement, followed by marketing. Supplier-side 20 20.4% 20.4% 19.2%meeting management professionals saw the most balance 15.4%among procurement, marketing, and travel. 15 12.5% 12.5%Nearly one in five meeting management professionals 10(18%) expect procurement, travel, or marketing depart- 5 3.8% 3.6%ments to influence their fees or business models in 2009, 2.0%leading to new fee structures or pricing methods, added 0services, greater flexibility, or an increase in à la carte No Influence Little Influence Some Influence Much Influence Total Controlservice options. Travel Department Marketing Department Procurement Influence of Various Departments on U.S. Meeting Planners Influence of Various Departments on EMEA Meeting Planners 39.9% 40 60 37.2% 37.7% 53.8% 35 50 30 28.9% 41.3% 26.1% 25.2% 40 25 32.6% 32.6% 20 18.0% 19.4% 30 26.1% 17.0% 23.1% 15.1% 15 19.6% 12.8% 20 17.4% 13.0% 10 8.6% 7.8% 11.5% 10.9% 10 7.7% 5 3.6% 2.6% 3.8% 4.3% 2.2% 0 0 No Influence Little Influence Some Influence Much Influence Total Control No Influence Little Influence Some Influence Much Influence Total Control Travel Department Marketing Department Procurement Travel Department Marketing Department Procurement Influence of Various Departments on Influence of Various Departments on Planner Meeting Management Professionals Supplier Meeting Management Professionals 40 37.5% 50 35 33.3% 34.1% 42.5% 29.5% 40 38.1% 30 28.2% 32.6% 25.0% 25 22.7% 30 20.8% 20.8% 26.5% 26.5% 24.6%24.6% 20 16.9% 20.1% 15 20 17.2% 12.9% 16.4% 10 8.3% 8.3% 10.4% 10.6% 10 5 3.8% 3.7% 2.2% 0.8% 0.8% 0 0 No Influence Little Influence Some Influence Much Influence Total Control No Influence Little Influence Some Influence Much Influence Total Control Travel Department Marketing Department Procurement Travel Department Marketing Department Procurement
The IndustryRespondsFlexibility and InnovationPlanners and suppliers expect to fall back on their own creativity to address a vari-ety of logistical and competitive challenges in 2009.• The overall relationship between planners and suppliers is becoming abuyer’s market, where planners can expect to negotiate more generousconcessions, incentives, rates, and other contract provisions. Planners andsuppliers alike expect to build more flexibility into their contracts to accountfor an uncertain market.• On the other hand, about 25% of meeting professionals around the worldexpect that a reduction in the number of available flights will reshape the waythey plan and conduct meetings. Arrival and departure windows will be extended,and air travel will be booked further ahead whenever possible. Meetings will be con-centrated more heavily in destinations with the most frequent, reliable air service, andmore planners will locate their meetings with drive times in mind.• Although meeting organizations will be on the lookout for employees with theright training, education, experience, and attitude, about 7% of meeting professionalspredict a shortage of qualified staff in 2009. Many organizations have responded withexpanded internal training programs; others plan to outsource specific duties.Back to BasicsFaced with a tough global market, the meetings industry in 2009 will sharpen itsfocus and streamline its activities to the necessities of economic life. Planners’operational decisions will be driven overwhelmingly by cost, and secondarilyby practicalities like airlift for destinations, and customer service for hotels andmeeting venues. Factors Influencing Destination Factors Influencing Hotel Factors Influencing Venue Selection, 2009 Selection, 2009 Selection, 2009 Overall Cost 26.0% Overall Cost 31.3% Overall Cost 40.3% Airlift 24.9% Customer Service 14.0% Customer Service 11.2% Travel Costs 15.5% Location relative to meeting 6.7% Quality/condition of venue 8.2% purpose Location relative to meeting 11.4% Location relative to meeting 6.6% purpose Willingness to 6.4% purpose negotiate/be flexible Ease of access/travel 10.9% Meeting space requirements 6.6% Incentives/concessions 5.8% Proximity to 7.1% Flexible/dedicated staff 5.4% members/attendees Room rates 5.8% Value 5.1% Condition/quality of hotel 5.6% Meeting space requirements 5.1% Value 5.1% A Comparative Outlook on the Global Business of Meetings 9
In 2009, as in 2008,corporate planners willconsider a larger number offacilities than theirassociation counterparts.
Meeting Planners’ Destination Choices, 2009 United Canada Central South European Asia Other Strategic Use of Technology States America America Union Meeting professionals still see face-to-face meetings as the most effective tool for a variety of purposes that EMEA 12% 19% 7% 9% 36% 9% 8% are central to their organizational missions: to build Canada 12% 57% 4% 6% 11% 7% 3% relationships and trust, engender a sense of com- U.S. 61% 13% 5% 5% 8% 6% 3% munity, conduct highly interactive programs, engage participants at an emotional level, and demonstrate new products that require physical use, from medical devices to sporting goods. Meeting Planners’ Venue Choices, 2008-2009 But planners and suppliers are still in the market for All Corporate Association technologies that will help them conduct business more effectively. For the coming year, FutureWatch 2009 2008† 2009 2008† 2009 2008† 2009 respondents expressed greatest interest in tech- City hotel 32% 35% 31% 35% 34% 38% nologies that enable them to: Resort hotel 23% 24% 25% 27% 18% 28% • Generate better attendee feedback on the meeting Airport/suburban 13% 10% 14% 11% 11% 10% experience hotel • Provide better Internet access onsite Conference center/ 1-% 11% 8% 9% 11% 13% university • Introduce customer relationship management (CRM) programs or improve their existing ones Restaurant/club/ 8% 9% 9% 10% 7% 8% unique venue • Improve the audio-visual experience onsite Convention center 9% 10% 7% 8% 12% 13% • Facilitate the request for proposal (RFP) process Other 6% 6% 6% • Identify and evaluate vendors, destinations, and † For comparison purposes, the 2008 percentages were recast and formatted to match calculation methods used in FutureWatch 2009. All relativity between the percentages originally reported in venues FutureWatch 2008 is preserved.Meeting planners’ decisions on venue type in 2009 will show little • Facilitate wireless networking and other forms ofchange over 2008. Increased use of airport hotels, a small decline onsite communicationfor city hotels, and a sharper drop for association meetings inresort hotels, may indicate a preference for shorter meetings with Technology to “get better feedback from attendeeslower costs, more straightforward logistics, and less extensive about their meeting experience” emerged as a topperks or amenities. priority for planners, suppliers, and meeting manage- ment professionals, in all regions of the world, andPlanners foresee little change over the next year in the number of more than half of respondents said the technology isfacilities they will consider for each meeting they hold. In 2009, as adequate and affordable. But other technology optionsin 2008, corporate planners will consider a larger number of facili- received more critical review.ties than their association counterparts. • Suppliers in all regions expressed strong interest in CRM technology. But more than half in EMEA, 52% in Canada, and 46% in the United States said the avail- Number of Facilities Considered Per Meeting, 2008-2009 able packages are either inadequate or unaffordable. Association Corporate Government All • Planners placed a premium on technologies that “provide better access to the Internet at meeting 2008 average 5.20 7.10 5.69* 6.33 venues and hotels,” but 70% said current arrange- ments are inadequate or unaffordable. 2009 average 5.15 7.11 6.29* 6.32 Change 2008-2009 -1% No change +11%* No change • FutureWatch 2009 respondents see virtual meetings*Accuracy may be limited by small sample size as an important trend, and many of them predicted a shift to Web-based learning as a way to control meet-Planners predicted a scant 2% increase in average expenditure per ing and travel costs. However, they are not entirelymeeting between 2008 and 2009. Just a year earlier, respondents to convinced that the enabling technologies are ready forFutureWatch 2008 predicted 11% growth in meeting budgets and prime time. Webcasting and virtual meeting technolo-a 22.6% increase in spending on individual meetings. gies ranked lowest for accessibility and affordability among planners and meeting management profes- sionals in EMEA and Canada, though US respondents were more optimistic. A Comparative Outlook on the Global Business of Meetings 11
Green Meetings and CorporateFutureWatch 2009 uncovered Social Responsibility Perceptions and definitions of green meetings vary byanecdotal evidence that CSR region. Across the board, 10% of FutureWatch 2009 respon- dents predicted a continuing trend toward greener, moreinitiatives may be delayed in environmentally friendly meetings, with specific featuresorganizations that see them ranging from recycled name badges and biodegradable signage to reduced fuel consumption and paperless meet-as non-essential in an uncer- ings.tain economy. In North America, a focus on green meetings was more prevalent among planners and meeting management professionals, less so among suppliers. Predictions for 2009 centered on increased use of virtual meeting technol- ogy, greater emphasis on smaller, regional meetings, and overall reductions in fuel use and carbon emissions. In EMEA, suppliers were more likely to see green meetings as a major focus for the coming year, and their priorities had more to do with recycling, reuse, and corporate social responsibility. Importance of Green Meetings in 2009 by Region and Member Type Meeting Meeting Meeting Planners Management Suppliers Professionals EMEA 14% 15% 19% Canada 15% 11% 5% U.S. 12% 10% 6% Although 61% of respondents reported that corporate social responsibility (CSR) was important to their organi- zations, FutureWatch 2009 uncovered anecdotal evidence that CSR initiatives may be delayed in organizations that see them as non-essential in an uncertain economy. Planners and suppliers expressed statistically equal CSR commitments on their organizations’ behalf, at 63% and 61% respectively. Meeting management professionals, at just under 59%, showed a slightly lower degree of interest. On the whole, CSR was a more significant area of concern for meeting professionals outside the United States, and particularly in EMEA. In organizations with CSR programs, the specifics were quite consistent across regions and respondent groups. Most of them had identified in-house leaders to guide and oversee their CSR efforts, and required employees to have some understanding of what was going on and why. Some organizations, particularly in EMEA, had dedicated CSR departments, and a number of respondents said their organizations had CSR champions in various departments.
A Business of RelationshipsSuppliers’ strategies for evaluating communications show Meeting management professionals, meanwhile, expect tothat they see meetings as a business of relationships, as they work for fewer clients in 2009. However, apart from a smallhave in past years. Suppliers in the United States, Canada, number of independent supplier respondents in the EMEAand EMEA reported that their competitive toolkits would region, they hope to plan or support more programs forinclude the following approaches: each remaining client.Meeting Suppliers’ Value Adds, 2009 Expected Change in Client Activity, Meeting Management Professionals, 2008-2009 U.S. Canada EMEA Number of Clients Meetings Per Client Follow up communication 20.4% 34.0% 6.8% Planners Suppliers All Planners Suppliers All MMP MMP Constant communication 17.7% 10.6% 18.2% EMEA -10% -19%* -15% +3% -50%* -19% Build relationship with client 8.6% 14.9% 18.1% Canada -3%* -22%* -12% +18%* 0%* +10% Excellent customer service 8.0% 10.6% U.S. -4% -15% -10% +6% +6% +6% More personal interaction 6.1% 8.5% *Accuracy may be limited by small sample size Thank-you notes 5.3% Client incentives, complimentary 4.8% 6.4% services and amenities Meeting management professionals largely agree on the fee structures they use most frequently, whether they function Pre conference and post confer- 4.8% 6.4% as suppliers or planners. The main differences were a stron- ence meetings / reports ger preference for head count fees on the part of suppliers, Show appreciation 4.8% 6.4% and for project fees on the part of independent planners. Get feedback on what we could 4.4% Frequency of Use, Meeting Management do better Professional Fee Structures Listen and confirm clients needs 4.4% 4.3%% 11.4% Suppliers Planners Help save them money 6.8% Use Ever Use Ever Customize work 4.5% Most Use Most Use Evaluate the outcome and 4.5% Head count fee 1 17% 5 26% analyze results Project fee 2 24% 1 57%*Many respondents gave multiple responses to this question Percentage of cost 3 17% 3 34%The regional breakdowns show an emerging difference in Commission 4 19% 4 41%perspective. North American suppliers generally favor amore transactional approach to customer outreach and con- Time-spent fee 5 23% 2 52%stant follow-up, with a small proportion of US respondents Retainer 6 9% 6 18%open to packages of incentives and amenities that gener- Partnership 7 11% 7 15%ated a degree of discomfort among planners responding topast FutureWatch surveys. In EMEA, by contrast, supplierrespondents emphasized relationship-building, customiza- Although meeting management professionals often get totion, cost control, and an interest in measuring outcomes choose their preferred fee structure, independent planners,and results. in particular, show a great deal of flexibility in working out the payment arrangements that will satisfy different clients.In their responses to open-ended questions, suppliers fromall regions agreed that a high level of personal service andopenness will be the key to success in a highly competi-tive marketplace. They stressed their commitment to beingflexible and helpful, and to delivering on the promises theymake. A Comparative Outlook on the Global Business of Meetings 13