More social media, less traditional sites expected in 2014 meetings

According to the American Express Meetings & Events 2014 Global Meetings Forecast, following two years of modest budget and activity increases, flat or slight declines in meetings spend per organization are expected across all regions heading into 2014.

In North America, nearly half of planners surveyed expect a slight increase (up 1.5 percent overall for the region) in the number of meetings they expect in 2014. The number of attendees is also expected to increase slightly as companies try to maximize the overall value of each event and reduce the average cost per attendee.

Meeting planners surveyed by American Express revealed a number of key trends and identified expectations across all regions:

•  More social media and mobile apps. Meeting planners are facing increased pressures to use social media and mobile apps before, during and after meetings as a way to communicate with and connect attendees to one another in order to maximize time spent at meetings and create opportunities for increased engagement and efficiency.

•  Local and regional meetings Compliance, cost and travel time are all noted as top drivers of keeping meetings closer to home.

•  Group fares. Group hotel and air rates for meetings and events are expected to experience slight increases compared to rates from 2013.

•  Non-traditional properties Continuing on a trend noted in the 2013 American Express forecast, meeting planners revealed increased interest in non-traditional properties as locations for meetings such as outdoor venues, universities and aquariums.