MPI: More Meetings, More Money, Less Time in 2013

Companies are budgeting for more events and meetings in the upcoming year, Meeting Professionals International [MPI] announced in its annual Business Barometer report.

The firms surveyed say they will raise event and meeting budgets in the U.S. by 1 percent, while increasing the number of gatherings by 2.8 percent and shortening them by about 30 minutes.

MPI rates demographics as one of the most significant challenges for event planners and suppliers. With a wide-variety of pre-boomers, baby boomers, and Generations X, Y and Z, all from a variety of cultural backgrounds, satisfying everyone is impossible. Event and meeting professionals are coping with the variety by providing more options in technology, schedule, meeting spaces, and even food and beverage choices.

The variety of technologies needed to appease the various groups—on-demand content, streaming content, mobile and social apps—puts strain on limited Internet resources however, leading to frustration with availability.

While improved Internet access was the most or second-most demanded technology by both planners and suppliers, it was rated the 10th most difficult demand to meet by planners and the eighth-most difficult by suppliers—representing one of the largest discrepancies between supply and demand.

“Younger-gen attendees have changed the way meeting professionals communicate content, both in-person and online,” the report reads. “In the face-to-face environment, they’re delivering information in shorter segments, with more interactivity. This style has in no way replaced traditional lectures, but has becoming increasingly popular.”

Meanwhile, social media appears to have saturated the market. Respondents ranked supply five to seven spots ahead of demand.

MPI found several changes in venue selection as well.

Most notably, public perception—once a key factor in picking a city—has become one of the least-considered elements for selecting an event destination. Just 14 percent of respondents say it plays into their thought process, while 42 percent name overall cost as the most important factor.

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Posted by Michael Rondon

Michael Rondon is a senior editor for Expo. Reach him @Mike_Rondon or mrondon@accessintel.com.... View all articles by Michael Rondon →