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by Michael J. Shapiro | September 04, 2013

Chinese planners place little importance on price when selecting destinations and venues for their meetings, according to the Chinese Meeting Planners Site Selection Survey, released this week at the China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition in Beijing. The study, which surveyed 165 Chinese meeting planners, was conducted by Professor Rob Davidson at the University of Greenwich, U.K., in conjunction with CIBTM. When choosing a destination, survey respondents ranked climate, economic stability and visa requirements as the most important features, with price ranking tenth out of 11 criteria. When selecting a venue, the top three factors were proximity to the airport and public transportation; fast Internet for attendees, and the quality of the food and beverage. Price ranked last in the list of seven items. "These meeting planners are happy to pay the price if they get actual quality," said Davidson during the initial presentation of the study, while pointing out that price typically ranks near the top of the list for European and North American planners. In terms of what annoys Chinese planners most in dealing with venues and destination sales and marketing staff, not having calls returned quickly enough was the number-one complaint. Almost 60 percent of respondents plan more than 10 meetings per year, and almost half (48 percent) said the average size of their meetings is between 51 and 200 attendees. Interestingly, many are planning longer events, with 36 percent typically putting together three-day meetings and 17 percent arranging meetings that last four days. Half of the respondents believe lead times are getting shorter; 43 percent book their venues an average of one to three months in advance and nearly one-fifth (19 percent) book a mere one week to one month before the event. The full report can be found at cibtm.com.