Top 10 Trends for APAC Meetings in 2017

According to the American Express 2017 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, survey respondents in Asia Pacific project optimism in meeting activity and predict more varieties of meetings and little change in overall budgets.

As the global hub of manufacturing with very diverse travel destinations, the economic growth and development of meetings and tourism infrastructure throughout the region have contributed to a positive outlook.

These are the top 10 trends for meetings and events activity for Asia Pacific in 2017:

1. As with other regions, certain meeting types (senior leadership, advisory and incentive meetings) will fall or remain flat. Other meeting types (sales and marketing, product launches, conferences, tradeshows) show growth, with the number of attendees for most meeting types expected to rise.

2. Group hotel rates are expected to rise on the lower end of the scale for Asia Pacific. As large hotel brands merge and consolidate, it could lead to stronger pricing controls and higher rates. Meeting planners could also potentially encounter challenges with:
  • Contractual negotiation processes
  • Changes in contractual terms and conditions
  • Changes in key contacts
3. China leads the charts for new hotel openings in Asia in 2017 with Shanghai (23 hotels), Sanya (13 hotels) and Suzhou (12 hotels).

4. Respondents predict that group air rates will continue to rise globally in 2017. Over 50 percent of respondents in Asia Pacific indicate that group air rates have some influence on destination choice as compared to 60 percent of respondents in Central and South America that indicate significant influence.

5. Respondents across all regions identify ease of travel and safety as top influencers for meeting location choices. Safety concerns rank particularly high with 48 percent of respondents in Asia Pacific as compared to 27-28 percent in Europe and Central and South America.

6. Asia Pacific leads the use of meeting technologies (mobile apps, registration systems and more) as respondents indicate it emerges as part of 47 percent of meeting policies in Asia as compared to only 31 percent in Central and South America.

7. Little change is expected for meeting length from 2016 with the exception of Australia, where larger decreases are predicted for several meeting types, in line with the regional numbers in 2017. In fact, Australian conferences and tradeshows, as well as incentives and special events, are expected to be shorter than the rest of the region next year.

8. As meetings get shorter, many become more complex as individuals try to maximise the opportunity to meet. Large meeting activity creates a more complex meeting planning process resulting in meeting planners and suppliers looking more closely at their meetings strategy.

9. While meeting activity may be on the upswing, overall meeting spend per company is expected to remain flat through 2017 in Asia Pacific with the exception of Australia with a predicted increase of 2.8 percent in 2017. When faced with tighter budgets, respondents in Asia Pacific indicate that meeting owners are willing to limit off-site optional events and activities as well as shorten the number of nights per meeting.

10.The appeal of large cities continues to decline from previous years, with respondents in both Australia and the region overall suggesting that 81 percent of meetings will be held in large cities. This represents a shift for Australia from 88 percent in 2016 as it follows the global trend toward greater use of second-tier locations.

*Article first appeared in Biz Events Asia.
Top 10 Trends for APAC Meetings In 2017