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Thursday, 9th February 2012

The Meetings Sector in 2012

Source: Fast Future

In many ways the downturn of 2008 and the AIG effect have catalyzed the need for change within the industry. It is also increasingly likely that much of the western world will either be in – or on the brink of - recession for much of 2012. Other nations will experience a period of stagnant to low growth. However, we expect these ‘inevitable surprises’ to come as a shock to most of the industry. The industry is generally pretty bad at anticipating or preparing for economic disruption and we think it will continue to struggle with this. The challenge is to become more strategic and develop plans B and C rather than rely on a single set of hope based assumptions.

In this environment, as part of Fast Future's ongoing Convention 2020 project, we asked our network ‘What key strategic priorities do you expect for corporate and association event owners over the next 1-3 years?' Interim results from October 2011 suggest that cost reduction and a clear measurement of ROI are the two key themes, with 66% of the respondents suggesting them to be critical.

Other important strategic priorities include shortening the planning and execution cycles of events to keep them relevant (55%) and a greater use of hybrid and virtual formats (53%).

The most popular strategy for cutting costs amongst our respondents was to close unprofitable meetings (65%). This could well result in less experimentation as planners stick to tried and trusted methods, but there are also reasons to suggest change will be enforced. Running shorter events and merging events together were second and third most popular choices with 57% and 54% respectively.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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