The number of meetings to be staged in Asia during 2013 and
the total meetings expenditures in that region both will increase year over
year, according to a new forecast from American Express Meetings & Events. In
every other global region, both metrics next year will stagnate or decline,
though Amex projected higher average group hotel and air travel prices in
nearly every area.
Amex based its forecast on "a comprehensive survey"
of meeting professionals and suppliers, "data from the American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2013, interviews with industry leaders"
and "actual and planned meetings activity" booked through American
Express Meetings & Events and its Maxvantage alliance in North America with
Maritz Travel. It found that average overall meeting spend in Europe would drop
as much as 6 percent year over year, with smaller average declines in North
America (1 percent) and Central and South America (3.5 percent combined), but a
4.2 percent average spending increase in Asia.
Amex projected the total number of meetings next year would be
flat in North America, while rising by 6.4 percent in Asia and falling by 2.3
percent in Europe and by 1.1 percent in Central and South America.
With average group airfares projected to increase between
2.9 percent and 3.3 percent in each of the four regions, and average hotel
group rates forecast to rise by at least 4 percent in every region but Europe
(where prices are projected to hold steady), many companies will look to hold
smaller and more local meetings to save money, according to American Express.
"To maximize the return on their investment, companies
are highly focused on gaining clarity around spend, ensuring transparency as to
why their organizations are holding meetings and who is attending them, and
measuring the degree to which their meetings objectives have been achieved,"
according to a statement from American Express Meetings & Events vice
president and general manager Issa Jouaneh.
Amex also suggested that receiving management approval for
meetings in all regions "is becoming at least slightly more difficult. In
addition, there is an emerging trend of meetings budgets not being approved
until companies' latest financial data is available. This dynamic is putting
even more pressure on already reduced lead times and can negatively impact
hotel negotiations, potentially leading to higher costs."