The 26th Annual Meetings Market Survey collected information about the number, size, revenue, and budgets for meetings industry during 2015, as well as information about site visits, booking windows, housing, and other topics:
When it comes to ranking tools for booking meeting sites, site visits are first, according to 41 percent of respondents. A higher percentage of planners say that online searches are their preferred site-selection approach over one-on-one sales interactions (35 percent and 22 percent, respectively), and only 6 percent rank fam trips as their first choice.
Airbnb and Shared Housing
Most respondents (79 percent) said that Airbnb and other shared-housing platforms are not important options for their attendees. Seventeen percent expect that a percentage of registrants will use Airbnb rather than their headquarters hotels or hotels in their room block, but it’s low: 6 percent of registrants, on average.
More than two-fifths of respondents (43 percent compared to 31 per-cent in the 2015 study) report that they are booking their large meetings more than three years in advance; 24 percent are booking two to three years ahead; 24 percent are booking only one to two years out; and 10 percent are booking their large meetings in under one year. The average booking window is 2.5 years, slightly above 2.3 years reported in last year’s survey.
The technology that respondents continue to seek most for their meetings is high-speed wireless internet access. In terms of social media, 78 percent of respondents rate Facebook either first or second when it comes to marketing their meetings and engaging attendees. Seventy-two percent say Twitter is their No. 1 or No. 2 choice, while LinkedIn is first or second by 51 percent. Instagram is ranked first and second by 35 percent (a big jump from 2 percent in last year’s survey) and Pinterest is ranked first by 10 percent. Eight percent of respondents use Snapchat as their first and second choice, and 6 percent of respondents rank Periscope first — in last year’s survey, no one reported using Periscope.
Fewer than one in five respondents (17 percent) report that their largest event included a virtual or hybrid component. Twelve percent (compared to 14 percent in the 2015 survey) report that their use of virtual meetings and events increased in the past year, while 82 per-cent (compared to 79 percent in the 2015 survey) say it remained the same and 6 percent (down from 7 percent in the 2015 survey) report that it decreased. On average, respondents’ use of virtual meetings and events went up nearly 0.3 percent, on par with last year’s survey increase of 0.2 percent.
Changes as a Result of the Economy
More than half of respondents (62 percent) say they have not made any changes to their meetings over the last year because of the economy. Twelve percent (down from 16 percent in the 2015 survey) say they have cut back on some aspects of their events because of the lingering effects of the downturn in their particular industry. Conversely, 26 percent (up from 21 percent in the 2015 survey) say they have been able to make a greater investment in their meetings because they’ve seen an improvement in their industry.