Meetings & Events Industry Trends to Watch in 2018

September 13, 2017

The overall cost per attendee per day for meetings and events around the globe increased in 2017 and is expected to continue rising next year, according to the 2018 Meetings and Events Future Trends report.

Recently released by CWT Meetings & Events (CWT M&E), a division of global travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the report shows the regional differences and cost projections as well as the latest industry trends and top destinations.

“Costs are rising in key M&E markets, globally,” said Cindy Fisher, senior vice president and global head, CWT M&E. “With a 3.7 percent increase in hotels and 3.5 percent rise in air fares projected for the coming year, that trend is likely to continue.”

This will have a significant impact on some of the top global destinations including London, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Also, certain popular venues in these cities may see drop-offs next year.

The global airline industry’s capacity is expected to grow around 7 percent in 2017 and 6 percent  in 2018. The segmenting of air fares is broadening the appeal to travelers as they are able to purchase from options including a basic economy restricted fare or various upgraded fares, with specific service options. As for hotels, there is a progressive push from suppliers to move corporate buyers away from fixed, negotiated hotel rates and toward dynamic rate pricing.

Trends and tips to improve M&E in 2018:
Going beyond statistics to the root of what it means to hold a meeting or event, this report also explores the latest industry trends and recommendations: The top five being:

  1. Focus on “Why” — Set clear objectives from the start and use them to define your budget. Put a major emphasis on attendee engagement and then measure.
  2. Budget — Always start with the value the meeting or event can generate. A clear ROI for all to see is key to continued investment and successful meetings.
  3. Attendee experience — Make the whole process as simple as possible.
  4. Technology — Use technology to make conversations easier, and create user-friendly personalized attendee experiences.
  5. Safety and security — Plan in line with the amount of risk for each situation for both physical and cyber security, and do not inconvenience attendees.

North America has seen the cost per attendee per day increase by 3 percent in 2017 with new supply growth slightly exceeding demand. In the US, hotel and air travel prices are both expected to increase by 2.5 percent in 2018, with expectations that new supply growth and increasing demand will be about evenly matched.

Hotel prices are expected to increase in 2018. On top of that, domestic leisure travel has been increasing, meaning some hotels and resorts may limit group blocks at peak times.

According to CWT booking data, the top 10 destinations for meetings & events in North America in 2017 are:

  1.  New York, USA
  2.  Toronto, Canada
  3.  Cupertino/San Jose, USA
  4.  Chicago, USA
  5.  Indianapolis, USA
  6.  San Francisco, USA
  7.  Austin, USA
  8.  Houston, USA
  9.  Orlando, USA
  10.  Las Vegas, USA

Destinations such as Hawaii, Washington DC, and California’s wine region remain popular for meetings and events. We also expect to see a number of places in Arizona becoming more popular as new hotels come online in 2018. However, as long as demand outstrips supply, we’re unlikely to see much change from 2017.

For a look at international destination numbers in the the complete report, click here.

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