September 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)THE ECONOMY IS KEY CONCERN, BUT MEETING PLANNERS SEE RELIEF IN SIGHT

One Year Later, Optimism Sets In

Image Roughly a year has passed since Sept. 11, 2001. Security concerns and the long-suffering economy still dominate the news each day. Yet, planners are surprisingly upbeat about the future of the meetings market, according to an exclusive survey conducted by M&C.

Image A large majority of planners 70 percent described the meetings market today as “positive” overall in an online poll conducted Aug. 16-19; a total of 1,258 M&C readers responded.

In retrospect, 92 percent said they would have called the market positive just before Sept. 11, 2001. When recalling the weeks just following that tragic day, only 14 percent said they would have considered the industry healthy at the time.

Looking ahead, 87 percent of those polled expect the meetings market will be on an upswing six months from now. And nearly all (91 percent) believe the industry will be healthy a year from now. Only 4 percent foresee a negative outlook in 12 months.

While readers are generally optimistic about the future, they don’t expect much short-term change, according to M&C’s Meeting Planner Confidence Index (see chart, above).

Interestingly, when asked which external factors most influence the meeting planning market, the domestic economy and corporate budget cutbacks were perceived as having a greater effect than concerns about traveler security. Corporate downsizing and profits ranked above terrorism as key factors affecting the industry.

• Art Pfenning
Art Pfenning is the corporate research director for NORTHSTAR Travel Media, LLC, M&C’s parent company.

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