The U.S. meetings industry has recovered from the corporate travel cutbacks of the 2008 recession, but meetings will never be the same, according to a new study by The ACTIVE Network, Inc. (NYSE:ACTV), the leaders in Activity and Participant Management™ (APM) solutions. ACTIVE Network’s Business Solutions Group studied meeting planning patterns in five key destinations over the past four years in their latest study, Event Trends: 2008-2012, which reveals that organizations have reinvented their event sourcing practices to fit today’s corporate cost-control and savings goals. The study shows that requests for meeting proposals are now exceeding pre-recession levels but companies are:
- Meeting smaller – by paring the number of people attending events, often to under 50;
- Meeting shorter – by reducing event length to same or one-day meetings;
- Planning on the fly – by sourcing for meeting services with less lead time in order to accommodate fluctuating event budgets.
“Companies still value meeting face to face, but this study documents how the meetings and events landscape has changed over the past four years,” said JR Sherman, Senior Vice President of Business Solutions at ACTIVE Network. “Organizations are adopting strategies such as trimming event size, switching to local destinations and holding shorter meetings in order to reduce and control meeting costs. In our study, we provide ‘smart tips’ to address these trends, as well as identify specific sourcing patterns in each of the destination cities, which serve as a roadmap to help both meeting buyers and suppliers take full advantage of these new realities.”
Meetings Are Back
After plunging precipitously between 2008 and 2009 as the economy went into a tailspin, average monthly unique electronic requests for proposal (eRFPs) across the five cities in the study: Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Orlando, surpassed 2008 levels by 6% during the first 10 months of 2012. More significantly, the total eRFPs received through October 2012 stood 46% higher than the recessionary low-mark in 2009, illustrating the dramatic scale of the recovery.