A new report from the travel marketing firm Development Counsellors International found that security issues are a top concern keeping event planners up at night. One thing they’re not losing sleep over: the “Trump effect.”
Of the many worries stressing out event planners and decision makers these days, the biggest is security, according to a new report. And most meeting planners surveyed by Development Counsellors International, a travel marketing firm focused on tourism and economic development, made it clear that they expect destinations to help them implement measures to keep their events safe.
Other major concerns reported in “A View from Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing” [available for purchase] include destinations that don’t quickly respond to requests for information, which 38 percent of respondents said was an issue. In comments to BizBash, DCI Vice President of Tourism Daniella Middleton said the finding highlighted the need for destinations to have a plan in place so they can respond almost immediately.
“That’s huge,” Middleton said. “It’s not that destinations and suppliers aren’t replying in a timely manner, but it’s a miscommunication of, how fast can you get me an RFP? Being in the industry for almost 15 years, I didn’t see that as something that kept them up at night.”
Other notable highlights include an increased interest in social media, which DCI says is finally matching broader consumer trends, and continuing concerns about keeping costs down. A full 58 percent of respondents said that hotel and meeting space costs are among the most important factors in choosing a destination.
A lot has changed since the previous edition of the survey in 2015, including major shifts in the political climate. Despite a more divisive environment, however, the survey did not find a significant “Trump effect.” Just 20 percent of respondents said they were less likely to explore American destinations since President Donald Trump’s inauguration; 67 percent said the political climate had no impact on their bookings. Additionally, 62 percent of event planners who had put on meetings in the U.S. said they saw no attendance impact, while 30 percent said they had seen a decline.
“That was maybe something that was talked about a lot more than it actually happened,” Middleton said.