A vast majority (72 percent) of the meeting planners surveyed by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) in advance of its Affordable Meetings® Mid-America Conference & Exposition at Chicago's Navy Pier, April 13-14, 2011, cited a need for meeting planners to be more strategic when organizing meetings. Companies can rest assured, however, as industry professionals are excited and ready to rise to the challenge.
According to the conference’s pre-show survey, conducted by J. Spargo & Associates and analyzed by HVS Performance Management™, a leader in talent management and enhancement tools and solutions for the service-hospitality industry, meeting planners expressed the economy still is a major issue, and 75 percent of respondents are concerned that rising gas prices will negatively affect meeting-related travel.
In fact, 59 percent of respondents believe the economy and 26 percent of respondents believe travel expenses will be the two biggest factors that may affect growth of the U.S. meetings industry. Currently, 63 percent of survey participants site booking timelines as comparable to 2010.
“With the current challenges meeting planners face, there is a clear need for smarter meeting management....The real pitfall continues to be the economy and rising fuel prices, which are seen as the major hindrances to the growth of the industry,” said Dr. James Houran, Partner, HVS Performance Management™.