10 Reasons for Meeting Pros to Celebrate in 2011

We know that 2010 was no walk in the park for meeting and event planners.

In fact, the last two years have been rocky at best. But with tenacity, resilience, creativity and grit, you not only survived – you thrived. So this Valentine’s Day,  we’re happy to spread some love with a good news report just for you.

Optimism is on the risa as recent reports point towards slow but steady economic recovery in 2011 and beyond. And that’s good news for the meetings and incentive travel industries. So go ahead – put on a happy face. Do a little dance. Share some planner joy.

Here are our top 10 reasons for you to celebrate this year:

1) Meeting Planning One of 50 Best Careers in 2011

According to a recent US News & World report, you’ve chosen one of the hottest careers for 2011. Organizations are beginning to understand the value of the face-to-face meeting—as not just a perk but an imperative for comp anies that have greater global reaches.

Employment of meeting and convention planners is expected to grow faster than the average for all professions over the next decade or so. The Labor Department projects that the number of meeting planner jobs will jump 16 percent, thanks to the growing importance of meetings to increasingly global companies.

2) Groups & Meetings Driving Success

Travel research company PhoCusWright, with the support of M&C and other industry partners, surveyed 629 corporate planners to compile its new report, Groups and Meetings: Driving Success in Business Travel’s Most Complex Segment.

While recovery for this year has been running at about 4 percent, PhoCusWright expects growth to accelerate and reach double digits by 2012, when travel spend will be more than $35 billion.

3) Senior Planners Have High Optimism For 2011

Confidence replaces caution for the year ahead, reveals latest IMEX Global Insights Report. Compared to a Global Insights study conducted in the first quarter of 2010, a significant majority of respondents—71 percent—said they now feel more optimistic. Just 5 percent feel less optimistic.

Surveying a standing panel of 45 senior meetings industry and corporate professionals about their views for the year ahead, the results of the report point towards a more positive outlook for 2011 with the number of events, as well as available budgets, expected to rise.

4) A Positive Attitude Adjustment

Results of the Convention South Annual Meetings Trend Survey, conducted in September, revealed that 86% of meeting pros expect the health of the industry to improve or at least stay the same in 2011. This confirms that the attitude of meeting planners has turned more positive compared to years past.

Planners also said they expect that in 2011 their events will draw more attendees, and they are expected to spend more on meetings. A surprising 30% are not being asked to trim their budgets, and more than 50% of planners cited that the economy is no longer affecting their choice of destinations and meeting venues.

5) Science Proves Face-to-Face Meetings Best

Meeting pros intuitively know the value of face-to-face meetings for building lasting relationships and business partnerships, stimulating new ideas, increasing motivation/employee engagement, and recognizing stellar performance. But how do you convey these intangibles to senior decision-makers?

In a recent Cornell/Maritz whitepaperThe Future of Meetings: The Case for Face-to-Face”, you’ll find scientific proof that face-to-face meetings work. Based on solid social psychology and neuroscience research, the report sheds light on the benefits of face-to-face interactions and defines three business goals that are best met through face-to-face meetings:

1. Capturing attention
2. Inspiring a positive emotional climate
3. Building personal networks and relationships

6) Incentive Travel on the Upswing

The Site Index: Annual Survey, released in September, reinforces the concept that motivational travel incentives as extrinsic motivators continue to be more desirable than other forms of rewards directly linked to measurable business results.

The survey results indicate the incentive travel marketplace is improving. .A majority (62%) of respondents expect an increase in motivational travel use in the next six to 12 months, with 84 percent predicting improvement in a one- to three-year span.

The report is available to Site members as well as motivational events industry professionals at siteglobal.com

7) Confidence Grows as Meetings Drive Business

According to the IMEX America “Index of Optimism” report, released Oct 2010, positive responses to a meetings industry survey suggest rising levels of confidence and business expectations. A majority of U.S. meeting buyers and suppliers  (71%) say demand is growing as we head into 2011. More than half believe the worst of the difficulties in the meetings market are over.

Those projecting a positive outlook highlight the continuing importance of face-to-face contact,  arguing that meetings drive business and suggesting pent-up demand in the global market is now coming through.

8) Future Bright for Incentive Travel Planners

“Incentive Industry Trends 2011″, a new pulse survey from IRF (Incentive Research Foundation), finds that economic trend lines for the incentive industry have stabilized and are on an upward swing. A majority of the survey respondents are more optimistic and consider the economy as having a “more positive” impact on their abilities to plan incentive travel programs. Overall, survey respondents predict that business will continue to improve  – 68% say it will be better in 2011 and 77% say it will be better in 2012.

9) Optimism Around the Globe

More good news for the meetings industry, according to the EIBTM 2010 Global Industry Trends and Market Share Report, released at November’s EIBTM trade show in Barcelona. Highlights of the report include:

  • Industry mood shows cautious optimism
  • Recovery ahead, improved business conditions,
  • Advanced bookings up on 2010
  • Corporate budgets expected to grow in 2011
  • Incentive business will improve
  • Signs show sustained growth in corporate meetings

10) Smooth Sailing Ahead

According to the 2011 State of the Industry Report, issued by CLIA (Cruises Lines International Association), cruising has earned the #1 ranking in consumer interest compared to other types of travel – with good reason.

With 14 new ships on the horizon in 2011, meeting planners have more choices than ever for value-packed, motivating event venues at sea. From boutique river cruisers to innovative large ships with jaw dropping amenities, cruise lines are responding to the growing demand for new and unique vessels. A few trends relevant to planners:

  • Globalization of itineraries, including shorter cruises in Europe and elsewhere
  • Increased choice in dining experiences, with more specialty restaurants, guest chefs, local sourcing of food
  • Focus on personalized cruise experience both on board and ashore, with private or exclusive shore excursions
  • Stronger interest in theme cruises, including food and wine, music, culture and art
  • More families/multi-generational groups, corporate meeting & incentive groups

One Response to “10 Reasons for Meeting Pros to Celebrate in 2011”

  1. [...] Posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Maureen McKeon We’d like to add another item to our good news list for meeting pros – this one is [...]