by Sarah J.F. Braley | February 02, 2017
The winter 2017 Meetings Outlook report from Meeting Professionals International, released yesterday, found that the rate of growth in the meeting and event industry is slowing slightly. While 58 percent of respondents in the latest survey projected favorable business conditions for the coming year, that figure has declined from 67 percent reported in the fall Outlook. The research also found that planners are dealing with tight budgets and a stronger need to prove return on investment.
 
"More than ever, [planners] are doing more with less, and there is a focus on ROI," said Bill Voegeli, president of Association Insights, which conducts the survey for the organization. By the numbers, in the past quarter, 12 percent fewer respondents reported a favorable budget in the year to come and 10 percent more respondents reported a negative outlook, compared with the previous quarter. The estimated percentage increase in actual budgets also dropped, from 1.6 percent in the previous report to 0.6 percent now.
 
Voegeli also reported that the market right now isn't strictly a seller's or a buyer's market. "It is a good place to be," he said. "A balanced market is a little more comfortable."
 
When asked whether the outcome of the presidential election would affect the meetings industry, 32 percent of the respondents expected no change, 36 percent were somewhat or firmly optimistic while 32 percent were somewhat or firmly pessimistic.
 
The report also found that 23 percent of organizations that employ meeting and event professionals are increasing the number of employees and/or contractors due to new technology.
 
Click here to view the full report.