by Sarah J.F. Braley | June 01, 2008

chartMoney woes are on everybody’s mind these days, and the difficulties affect everything, including all aspects of meetings. To see how the bad news is affecting M&C’s readers, we conducted an online poll in May. Results confirm that almost all of the 226 respondents (94 percent) are either very or somewhat concerned about the economy.

About a third of planners surveyed (30 percent) have canceled some meetings due to economic concerns, while a comforting 66 percent are holding the same number of events and 4 percent have added meetings. Many planners are working with less money, however; 46 percent said their budgets have been cut.

The respondents are taking a number of measures to reduce costs. The top five strategies: choosing less expensive destinations (31 percent), reducing the budget for entertainers and speakers (30 percent), using less expensive hotels (28 percent), planning shorter meetings (24 percent) and planning fewer hosted meal functions (24 percent).

The economic downturn seems to be a mixed blessing when it comes to room blocks, as 42 percent said it is easier to secure space for their groups, although the majority (58 percent) have not found this to be so.

About half of respondents (49 percent) said business travel is down within their organizations. However, another 49 percent said people are traveling the same amount, and a slim 2 percent reported an uptick in travel.

On a more personal level, the majority of those surveyed (69 percent) are not worried that they will lose their jobs anytime soon. Nevertheless, a quarter of the sample (25 percent) admit to feeling somewhat less secure in their positions.