Meeting professionals are optimists, and we have the numbers to back that up, courtesy of American Express Meetings & Events. Surveyed for the Amex M&E annual forecast, 70 percent of the 550 respondents ranked their level of optimism about the health of the industry at 8 or higher, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Industry forecasts give credence to this sunny perspective. Data from Amex and CWT point to moderate increases for 2020 in areas like meeting spend, frequency and size. Growth will vary for different types of meetings in different parts of the world, but on average the projections are positive. Still, there are warning signs that shouldn't be overlooked.
Areas for Concern
A tremendous amount of economic and political uncertainty hangs in the balance as a result of escalating trade tensions -- particularly between the United States and China -- as well as the potential for a no-deal Brexit in Europe, a contentious U.S. election year and plenty of other political concerns. These issues could cause business confidence to wane, according to the Global Business Travel Association BTI Outlook Annual Global Report & Forecast, released in August.
"When business confidence declines," notes Jon Gray, principal with Rockport Analytics, who presented the report at the GBTA Convention in Chicago in August, "business-travel activity tends to follow within one or two quarters." Group business travel is typically most sensitive to the elevated levels of political and economic uncertainty we're seeing, he adds.
Read the full feature, including predictions on air and hotel costs, trade shows and more, at NorthstarMeetingsGroup.com