UK meetings market to outperform Europe

The UK meetings market is set to outperform Europe as whole next year, according to new research from American Express.

Although the Meetings & Events 2014 Global Meetings Forecast will not be available until next month, Amex has announced some of its key findings already. Although the number of meetings is set to remain static in Europe overall throughout next year, the UK is one of two jurisdictions in which the company says it expects to see improvement.

Similarly, the continent as a whole is forecast to see declines of around 1.8 per cent in both organisational meetings spend and the number of attendees at every event. In these both of these categories, however, the study predicts that Britain will continue to see improvements as the economy slowly returns to growth.

Germany is the only country Amex has said will match the UK by reporting an increase across all three categories, since its relatively strong economy has left it in a much better position than many of its counterparts.

Still, none of Germany’s business hubs could match London’s projected performance. The capital is expected to be Europe’s number one meetings destination next year, beating Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Brussels  to the top spot.

In the international context, Britain’s performance is even more impressive - the study found that meetings spend is likely to fall next year in every region, reversing some of the modest growth reported in the previous two years.

Asia Pacific may be home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but the region as a whole is expected to see a decline of 1.2 per cent in the number of meetings held over 2014. Amex says that tighter meetings policies are contributing to the decline as spending comes under stricter control.

This trend is being replicated across many regions and countries, and the study’s authors say that meeting planners around the world are still struggling to do more with less. For event bookers seeking an efficient way to handle revenue from ticket sales and shore up their cash flow, online event registration software could be a useful asset.

“In an environment where budgets are expected to be challenging and the approval process for meetings will likely continue to be stringent, companies across all regions are reexamining their meetings strategies in order to achieve meeting objectives, increase efficiency and control costs,” said Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager at American Express Meetings and Events.

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