Being Proactive in Changing Times
How to prepare for and respond to key industry trends.
by Mary MacGregor and Matthew WallAugust 1, 2011
• Globally, consumer optimism has replaced pessimism.
• Economic growth hasn't taken place as quickly as predicted.
• The number of meetings, number of delegates and budgets all are increasing slowly.
• Technology has become a mainstream concern.
• Social media has changed the game with respect to service and marketing.
This page is protected by Copyright laws. Do Not Copy
The following checklist was compiled by Mary MacGregor, vice president of account development for BCD Meetings & Incentives (bcdmi.com), and Matthew Wall, vice president of marketing and communications, EMEA, also of BCD. It is adapted from a presentation about global buying indicators and emerging industry trends, encouraging travel and meeting planners to be proactive in response to marketplace challenges.
• Ensure you have security and risk management plans in place, and let your clients know about them up front.
• Proactively communicate destination conditions ahead of any bad press that could leave clients and attendees with the wrong impression.
• Consider the impact of emerging markets with respect to your meeting plans; growth in travel in these markets might affect flight and lodging availability.
• Be prepared to accommodate clients who are ready to return to international travel.
• Consider flight access, which has become a paramount concern to business professionals.
• Assess visa and document entry requirements.
• Due to high oil prices, plan for a 10 to 15 percent increase in air costs as a part of overall budgets.
• Book as early as possible. Don't wait, because prices are likely to increase.
• Plan for moderate increases in hotel rates: about 3.5 percent in North America, 2.5 percent in Europe, 5 percent in Asia Pacific and 6 percent in Latin America.
• Beware that the availability and cut-rate deals of the past two years are beginning to wane. Upscale property rates are returning to pre-recession levels.
• Keep in mind budget constraints as well as compliance and perception issues.
• Be prepared to work with preferred suppliers; strategic meetings management programs have resulted in effective consolidation.
• Compare hotel options with nontraditional meeting venues.
• Know your audience and how they use mobile and social media technologies.
• Use social media to extend the life of meetings and events.
• Expect to be asked for hybrid and select-service solutions.
• Offer creative technology options as value-adds with your proposed meeting plans.
• Reveal any deal-breaking contract terms up front.
• Don't expect more time to respond to client requests; lead times remain short.
• Ask for creative pricing for volume and/or multiyear agreements.
• Negotiate for more concessions, which corporate planners and procurement can quantify as hard-dollar savings.
• Assume transparent pricing is required as a point of entry.
• Understand that the request for proposal process continues to be largely procurement-driven. Lend your expertise.