by Michael J. Shapiro | October 16, 2013
After two years of modest increases in meetings budget and activity, organizations throughout the world are likely to spend either the same or less in 2014, according to American Express Meetings & Events. The travel management giant's meetings division offered a preview Tuesday, at IMEX America, of its soon-to-be-released 2014 Global Meetings Forecast. According to the forecast, nearly half of planners in North America expect a slight increase (1.5 percent) in the number of meetings they will hold next year, as well as a slight uptick in the number of attendees, in an effort to increase the overall value of each event. Meanwhile, in Europe, the number of meetings should remain flat, while spend and the number of attendees are each likely to decrease by about 1.8 percent. The recent growth of the meetings industry in the Asia Pacific region is expected to slow down, with declines to the number of meetings (down 1.2 percent), overall spend (down 3.6 percent) and number of attendees per meeting (down 2.4 percent). The number of meetings to be held in Central and South America is forecast to remain flat next year, according to the forecast, which calls for a 1.4 percent decrease in spend per organization, despite a slight increase in the number of attendees. Amex expects lead times to decrease across the board next year, by just a bit in the Americas (1 percent less in Central and South America, 1.6 percent less in North America) and by a greater margin in Europe (down 2.7 percent) and Asia Pacific (down 4 percent). Findings are based on a survey, meetings and events data, and in-depth interviews of meeting professionals, all conducted by American Express Meetings & Events.