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5 Key Messages from the AMEX 2018 Global Meetings Forecast

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Each year, American Express Meetings & Events couples information from over 600 industry leader surveys and compiled data gathered from industry trends, proprietary and licensed third-party information sources to create their annual forecast of global meetings. We’ve pulled out five key messages from this year’s report.


  1. A deep understanding of your attendees is key.

The biggest trend in meetings between 2017 and 2018 is a focus on the attendee experience at top of mind for organizers. While events may not be increasing in length (results show meeting length keeping steady at 2017 numbers), organizers have increased focus on pre-meeting prep-work and post-meeting knowledge checks, as well as a guaranteed “wow” factor taking increased importance when planning events. This year’s report contains a lengthy look at attendee profiles and how best to meet – and exceed – their expectations. Broken down, attendees can be separated into groupings each with different needs and requirements:

  • The Knowledge Seeker
  • The Tech-savvy Networker
  • The Inspiration Seeker
  • The Social Butterfly
  • The Reluctant Attendee
  • The Brand Fanatic

(Turn to page 59 for AMEX’s suggestions on how to best deal with each profile).


  1. Group rates are on the rise.

Climbing steadily between 2017 and 2018, North American group hotel rates are estimated to increase 3.5%, further prompting earlier planning for accommodations and location booking. Despite the increase, however, the trend of ensuring a memorable meeting experience remains key. As a necessary expense of any meeting, the considered selection of suitable hotel space can contribute greatly to the overall take-home experience. For Canada in particular, mid-tier category property constitute 75% of accommodations demand for meetings in 2018.

North American group air rates are also on the rise with an estimated 4.7% increase over 2017 prices. Airline response, however, sees the addition of new routes and new destinations attractive to event planners on the lookout for a standout experience for attendees. As always, direct routes with no layovers or complicated transfers for attendees remain an important consideration when selecting location (49% of survey respondents listing this as a priority).


  1. Everyone’s looking for somewhere unique.

The demand for non-traditional meeting space, while composing a small portion of overall bookings, is a quickly rising area in event planning with organizations demanding a unique experience for attendees. In the eternal search to “wow” attendees, the demand on space planners to unearth these original locations is on the up an estimated 3.8% in 2018, and in response character locations are courting meeting planners for such bookings.


  1. Conferences and training meetings are king.

For North American event planners, the biggest areas of meeting activity types are Conferences or Tradeshows (contributing 23% of activity) and Training (a close second at 20%). Audiences for Conferences are also growing steadily with an estimated 1.8% increase in the number of attendees, an important number to keep in mind particularly given 55% of North American respondents indicating the offer of a “plus one” for many events, particularly those of a “special event” or product launch nature.


  1. For every meeting, an app.

The use of meeting and event apps are on the rise with leading-edge events presenting attendees with access to full-scale access to meeting information, maps and schedules via their mobile phones. North American planners forecast a 3.4% increase in the use of apps, making such developments a must-have for any event.

For the full 108-page 2018 AMEX Global Meetings and Events Forecast, simply request a copy here.

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