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Study predicts moderate uptick in meetings this year

DALLAS — A study issued in early January by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) indicates that industry professionals expect moderate increases in the number of meetings planned and the amount of money spent on them in 2011.

According to the study, FutureWatch 2011, 450 meeting professionals surveyed in 20 countries predicted an 
8 percent increase in the number of meetings planned for 2011 and a 5 percent increase in average spending.

“After two challenging years for the business of our industry, we’re back with FutureWatch 2011 responses indicating material real growth in activity of 8 percent,” said Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI. “FutureWatch 2011 also indicates that this is the year where recent industry forays into virtual events and collaboration through social media will become increasingly mainstream.”

As budgets became tighter, many meetings moved to cyber space, which the industry initially rebelled against because it was perceived as a direct threat to live events. Meeting professionals interviewed for the study said they expect that trend to continue.

The study also discusses how the global financial crisis forced industry practitioners to create more meetings that were more strategic, in order to   prove return on investment.

Suppliers projected that the number of meetings they would serve would increase by 11 percent and the number of proposals they would prepare would increase by 14 percent.

FutureWatch 2011 is available for download online at at no-cost to MPI members and for purchase to nonmembers for $299.