As a new year dawns, the many-faceted world of meetings continues to evolve in intriguing ways. Today, the industry is being appreciated as "absolutely critical in driving sales and marketing efforts for organizations," says Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager of American Express Meetings & Events. Among trends, he notes, "we're seeing compliance, risk management, global expansion and standardized processes playing increasingly important roles in enhancing the governance of events."
End-to-end meetings management is another key movement, notes Carlson Wagonlit Travel in its 2015 Meetings and Events Forecast, one that resulted in an average of 5 to 23 percent year-over-year global savings for CWT clients in 2014.
The practice of vendor consolidation is picking up steam in emerging markets across Latin America and Asia Pacific, based on success in North America and parts of Western Europe. Only China is bucking the trend, according to CWT, with most organizations there continuing to use a variety of suppliers for group air, hotel rooms, meeting space and ground transit.
Following is a more detailed look at major meetings industry segments and how they are expected to fare in the coming year.