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Transformation into a smarter and more cost-effective industry

One year into a less settled economic climate, meetings industry suppliers and buyers are responding with an assertive mix of creativity, proactivity and cost-consciousness, a new IMEX survey reveals. Respondents ranging from agency and association managers to corporate meetings buyers and destination marketers report a transformation into a leaner, smarter and more cost-effective…

One year into a less settled economic climate, meetings industry suppliers and buyers are responding with an assertive mix of creativity, proactivity and cost-consciousness, a new IMEX survey reveals.

Respondents ranging from agency and association managers to corporate meetings buyers and destination marketers report a transformation into a leaner, smarter and more cost-effective industry coupled with buyers who have clearer objectives, albeit with shorter lead times and a stronger appetite for negotiation.

The survey’s overall perception that business values and volumes are holding up reasonably well is also borne out by findings from the IMEX 2009 Post-Show Hosted Buyer Report. More than 1,000 hosted buyers provided feedback within 10 days of leaving the Frankfurt show.  The results showed that the average value of orders placed per buyer at the show was $353,982, with the average value of orders each buyer expected to place within nine months of the show, and as a result of attending IMEX, was $515,089. Factored up, this suggests that IMEX 2009 generated $375.5 million of business during the show, with an approximate $1.7 billion of business generated in the months afterward: a total business value of just under $2.1 billion.

Beneficial shake-up
Typical comments from both meetings industry suppliers and buyers in this month’s survey include, “I see this market shake-up – in favour of sharper, more skilful and responsive suppliers – as something of a renaissance for our industry.” Others testify, “Whilst it is true that the size, levels of luxury, format, budget, duration and travelling distances are all being curtailed, the actual number of events is largely unchanged.” Additional typical comments include, “Our positive and pro-active attitudes have led to new business relationships that are already proving fruitful for next year and 2011.”

Trends predicted by a minority of those surveyed include tighter margins leading to reduced quality, fewer events held over shorter distances and less use of four and five star hotels and facilities. This outlook contrasts with the majority who believe that demand is, and will continue to be, resilient. They anticipate little change in the volume of meetings and events being held but a fresh emphasis on a pared-down approach with clients satisfied by swifter “off the shelf” rather than more complex and resource-heavy tailor-made solutions.

Findings from those working in the performance improvement and motivation sector in particular also point to long-term resilience. Although some suggest that “the threat of losing a job is now incentive enough (to achieve targets),” others take a different view.  They point to the awareness and understanding of “the finance people” and suggest that incentive programmes are still being commission ed by enlightened CFOs who understand the negative long-term impact of demoralised staff on customer loyalty and hence profits.

Co-Founder & Managing Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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