Could 2017 Bring a Buyer’s Market for Event Planners?

A new report from IBTM World suggests that, despite the recent global tumult, there are economic trends that could greatly benefit event planners in North America.

On the geopolitical front, 2016 has been quite a year, and those shifts in leadership and policy have had an effect on the economy as well.

Despite all that, the latest edition of the IBTM World Trends Watch Report remains cautiously optimistic on the future of the events industry, and economic shifts within the industry are likely to give a boost to buyers in the meetings space—particularly in North America.

“The general tone of most forecasters is one of quiet optimism for the 2017 economic outlook,” the report, written by IBTM analyst Rob Davidson [PDF], states.

A few highlights from the report:

Europe maintains its association-event dominance: When it comes to events in the association sector, the most popular destinations tend to be in Europe. While the United States tends to get the most meetings overall, Europe counts for 15 of the 20 most popular destination cities for association conferences and 13 of the 20 most popular countries—and if you were to combine those 13 countries, they would well outpace the United States and Canada, combined. Overall, though, the North American and Asian markets are holding strong.

A growing buyers’ market in North America: The meetings industry in North America, more than some other parts of the world, is expected to see growth next year. Helping to improve things, Davidson writes, is that the market, which has traditionally favored vendors, is starting to turn the other way, due to changes in the business models of hotels and event venues. This means that event planners could soon have more negotiating power. “In the U.S., there is growing expectation that 2017 will bring a change in the balance of power from sellers to buyers, in terms of corporate and contract rate negotiations between hotels and planners,” the report states, citing research from New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

The impact of Brexit: The United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union could have a big effect on the global economy, and meetings are no exception, as it’s likely both employment numbers and consumer confidence will see negative impacts. But in the near term, Brexit’s effect on the British pound is leading to some unexpected positive effects. “At the time of writing, the pound was at a 31-year low against the dollar, prompting US-based conference organisers to jump at the chance to lock in lower rates for their large events for years to come,” the report states. However, this result is not likely to last, according to analyst reports cited by Davidson.

Want to learn more? Check out the full report over this way [PDF].


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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