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Meeting Trends 2019

By Sandra Eagle  

According to the American Express Global Meeting Events Forecast 2019, the North American meeting industry for the next year looks robust.

There are a few clouds on the horizon, but all in all the 2019 forecast includes growth for all types of meetings and events and a healthy 2% increase in product launch meetings and a 2.85% increase for incentive travel. Meeting professionals in Canada expect the number of internal meetings to be relatively flat.

Planners in Canada expect their meetings to last longer in duration than their American counterparts, with costs per attendee to be between $1,200 and $1,700 (excluding air transportation). Canadians on average spend about $700 more per attendee than the US does.

Canadians expect costs for hotel accommodation to increase by 2.41% regionally in 2019. With room rates eating up a substantial part of the budget, planners may reduce offsite activities to control costs. Planners in North America report a huge increase in concern over the reduction or elimination of commissions by hoteliers. Milton Rivera, vice president, business development and strategy, American Express Meetings & Events, noted, “It’s changing the basic mechanics of the industry. Many companies fund their meetings through commissions programs. This shift is forcing all of us to think differently about how we manage and fund meetings programs.” Rivera notes that planners are being asked to raise the bar on the meeting experience without the corresponding increase in their budgets. He says, “planners need to find creative ways to increase the attendee experience, this is where the use of pre- and post-show technology can be an invaluable tool for the planner.”

Rivera says there is a lot of activity in the meeting business space in Toronto and Vancouver. He says, “the Canadian market is thriving, the Vancouver and Toronto pipeline is sold out for the better part of 18 months.” The top five destinations in Canada for conferences are Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa.

To download and read the entire report, click here

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