While there is little doubt that the global economic indicators have been anything but healthy since the United States lead the world into a prolonged recession because it suddenly realized that it wasn’t the wisest policy to grant no money down, half million dollar mortgages to families whose gross income could barely meet the monthly payment let alone leave enough left over for such optional perks like food and utilities. Surprisingly, event producers haven’t seen a wholesale collapse in the market for both commercial and entertainment events with some indexes holding steady or even rising. Barring some unexpected massive financial disaster, 2014 could be event producers’ best year in many a moon.
We haven’t resorted to trading chickens for PIIGS
An unbiased observer might look at the economic news of the past few years and determine that pessimists had taken over the reins of global financial reporting. There is no doubt that some European nations have truly suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Greece is an economic disaster zone, and Portugal, Spain, and Italy are close behind. However, the massive economic meltdown forecast by so many pundits simply never did occur, the Euro is still the common currency avoiding the return of the drachma, the lira, or the trading of chickens for PIIGS, and those countries so far at least have avoided the forecasted massive revolutions and advent of anarchy. The United States is in much worse shape than it was less than a decade ago, but it seems that many of the families who lost their homes to foreclosures ended up renting so that they still have a roof over their heads. Therefore, even though it is indisputable that the economic graph has been pointing downwards for years now, we’ve mostly managed to avoid the widely forecasted spiral into post-Apocalyptic savagery.
Regional meeting demand is up everywhere around the world
According to the American Express Meetings & Events 2014 Global Meetings Forecast, North America is seen to be on a slight uptick, with the number of meetings increasing by 1.5%, the number of attendees per meeting growing by 0.6%, and the regional meeting demand rising by 2.3%. Even though other continents are showing negative numbers in almost all these predictive factors, the regional meeting aspect seems to be rising everywhere. It’s up by 0.6% in Central/South America, up by 2.4% in Europe, and a surprising boost by 4.0% in the Asia Pacific market.
Asia Pacific is facing higher event demand but lower budgets
One aspect where the news is either flat or negative across the board is in overall meetings spend within organizations. It is expected to be totally flat in the North American market, while falling by 1.4% in Central/South America, losing 1.8% in Europe, and dropping 3.6% in the Asia Pacific region. The combination of factors in the Asia Pacific market is rather paradoxical since as we have seen the regional meeting demand is up by just about the same percentage that the overall meetings spend is down, which means that in that region at least, companies are slashing costs even in the face of considerably greater demand. Whether this translates into fewer meetings and events or if this factor will be confronted with the same number of meetings and events which are executed on a lower budget is yet to be seen.
Even the most casual observer of world events recognizes that there are various trigger events which could occur in 2014 to totally derail the entire world’s economic structure, taking these somewhat rosy event prospects with it. All that would be required is for that lunatic in North Korea to lob a couple of bombs at Seoul, Japan and China coming to blows over a few silly rocky outcrops in the middle of the sea, or Iran executing yet another reversal in its nuclear development leading to Israel feeling obliged to “take them out.” These and many other potential events could mean that “all bets are off” but if the world continues to skirt the edge of disaster, 2014 could be a good vintage for events!
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