As meeting professionals began considering their plans for 2009, M&C asked what they thought was in store for the coming year. Of the 152 respondents to our late-July poll, relatively few expect sweeping changes. Forty-one percent anticipate no change to their 2009 budgets as compared with 2008, although 30 percent do expect to have to work with less. Slightly more than one quarter (26 percent), on the other hand, expect their 2009 budgets to grow.
The majority (58 percent) also believe the number of meetings they hold will remain flat, while 29 percent expect to plan a reduced number of meetings.
The need to trim costs still will be a priority for many: 44 percent of respondents expect to hold a greater number of meetings near their organizations? headquarters next year, 38 percent will be looking for more walkable meetings destinations and 34 percent will consider using more venues near airports.
About half (51 percent) plan to serve less expensive food and beverage, with 43 percent intending to replace full banquets with lighter meals. Twenty-six percent will serve fewer hosted meals. Nearly half plan to increase their use of webconferencing next year, and more than one-third expect to use more videoconferencing.