by Sarah J.F. Braley | August 01, 2016
The summer release of Meeting Professionals International's Outlook Report, a quarterly survey of senior-level meeting planners and suppliers, shows the meetings industry still enjoying comfortable business conditions, although the number anticipating a good end to the year dropped by 7 percentage points from the previous report. Of those surveyed recently, 63 percent predict favorable business conditions for the rest of the year, compared with 70 percent in the spring report. Those who said their budgets will be rising over the next 12 months also dropped - from 59 percent in the spring to 54 percent in the summer - with 29 percent expecting their budgets to be flat and 18 percent anticipating their budgets will decrease.
In the spring report, respondents' biggest concern was the seller's market being enjoyed by hoteliers, as 32 percent cited this market condition as a top challenge. The current report indicates the seller's market is changing, as hotels and venues are more narrowly defining the markets they are targeting. Bill Voegeli, president of Association Insights, the Atlanta-area research firm that conducts the survey, told MPI, "[This] bodes very well for the industry long-term, because the hotels and venues are taking time to better define and understand whom they want to work with, and better understand whom they serve the best."

Other tidbits from the survey include:

• 30 percent of respondents said they are avoiding destinations with laws prohibiting universal restroom use;
• 19 percent are avoiding locations with more liberal handgun or weapons laws;
• 27 percent said political elections have a significant influence on meetings and events;
• 84 percent said the ideal length of a traditional conference presentation with a single speaker is 20-30 minutes.

The full summer Meetings Outlook report can be found here.