As 2015 enters its final quarter, pundits are already making predictions about what the meetings industry should expect in 2016. “We anticipate tighter hotel cancellation policies, growing food and beverage costs and companies trying to harness their combined spend as they look for ways to cut costs and improve program efficiency and control,” says David Moran, executive vice president of CWT Meetings & Events, the meetings & events division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel business portfolio.
For the fourth year in a row, Carson Wagonlit Travel took a look at future meeting trends.The company recently released the results in a report entitled 2016 Meetings and Events Forecast. Writing for associationsnow.com, Samantha Whitehorne illuminates meeting predictions for 2016, based upon Carson Wagonlit Travel’s research.
10 Meeting Predictions for 2016
Steady growth. The meeting and events industry is expected to grow in the coming year.
It will be a sellers’ market in North America. Hotel demand in North America will exceed supply, giving sellers the upper hand. Prices are predicted to rise 4.3 percent in the region. Globally, hotel prices are expected to increase 2.5 percent in 2016.
South America in the spotlight. Brazil will take center stage next summer when the 2016 Olympics and Paralympic Games will be played in Rio de Janeiro. Pockets of high demand may result in a shortage of hotels and meeting space.
It will be a buyers’ market in Europe. Europe’s weakened economy, combined with a 10 percent decrease in hotel rooms under contract compared to June 2014, will give buyers greater negotiating power. Regardless, supply in Europe may be tight.
Unpredictability in Asia Pacific. A shaky economy and health-related scares in Asia Pacific could cause challenges, but hotel growth is projected for China and India.
Stable airfares. Airline prices in the United States are expected to increase a mere 0.5 percent in 2016, while Canadian airfares are expected to drop by 5 percent. This may translate into more attendees and exhibitors being able to fly to your meetings.
Plan ahead. Planning ahead will be critical, as hotels in high-demand markets may not hold space when responding to availability requests. Date flexibility may become increasingly important.
Keep decision makers in the loop. Compromises may be required, especially in high-demand markets or during peak seasons. Make sure key internal decision makers are appraised.
Keep your eye on F&B. Food and beverage will continue to drive per-attendee costs in 2016. When budgeting, look carefully at F&B. The healthy and more ecological alternatives today’s attendees desire can actually save you money if, for example, you switch from bottled to tap water.
Negotiate with care. Attrition and cancellation terms are expected to become stricter. Careful negotiations will become even more important to meeting planners.