Technology continues to grow in importance for meeting professionals, as sentiment about the economy improves, according to the latest Business Barometer from Meeting Professionals International (MPI).
Budgets, Attendance Rises
Meeting professionals are noticing improvements in the economy and the numbers bear it out—45 percent of the planners surveyed had budgets grow this February, up 13 percent from December and 7 percent year-over-year.
The trend looks to continue with 60 percent expecting budget growth in the next year.
Attendance at meetings rose as well with 53 percent of planners reporting increases, compared to just 40 percent in December and 47 percent a year ago.
Projections about overall business conditions and hiring remained relatively flat, while the prospects of part-time and contract employment rose considerably.
App Development and Social Media Usage Is Up
Technological innovation, particularly in app development and uses of social media, also stood out in the report. Though companies know they have to innovate in the space, they’re still uncertain of what they’re getting in return. ROI has yet to be defined in most cases.
Apps are becoming more commonplace throughout the industry, but the development process is still complex and remains a mystery to meeting planners. Costs are high with a near-universal reliance on third-party vendors to manage creation and approval of the software.
Similarly, optimal social media strategies are still being figured out. Costs are not a barrier, but “meeting professionals have struggled to identify which tools within the social media strata are worthy of dedicated resources.” As such, many are turning to employees with social media experience. That group tends to lack event experience however, leaving them unable to manage social media on their own.
MPI, in collaboration with research firm Association Insights, surveys a select group of its 21,000 international members for the bimonthly Business Barometer reports.