by by Michael J. Shapiro | April 01, 2009

NLR 0409 VenueAmidst mass-media reports portraying meetings as lavish, superfluous expenditures, events are being canceled. And the trend isn't limited to companies receiving federal bailout funds, according to the results of an M&C survey conducted in February.

While only 9 percent of the 135 survey respondents work with or for companies receiving bailout money, 21 percent report their companies have canceled events as a direct result of the public backlash. Another 15 percent say there have been cancellations, but it was unclear whether concerns about perception motivated them. More than half (52 percent) claim the backlash has been extremely or moderately influential on their firms' decisions to hold events.

About a quarter (24 percent) of respondents said their companies are developing new meeting policies to demonstrate good faith and intelligent spending, while one-third said such action isn't necessary because they already have strict guidelines in place. Forty-one percent have changed scheduled meeting locations, and 24 percent have canceled incentive trips.

In terms of site selection, luxury or upscale hotels (38 percent) and cruises (30 percent) top the list of venues companies are avoiding, with golf resorts (28 percent), beach resorts (24 percent) and specific cities (12 percent) rounding out the top five. However, more than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) said that no destination or venue is completely off the table.

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