MICE looking up in North America: RRC

There is reason for guarded optimism in the meetings and conventions market in 2012, according to research from RRC Associates’ DestinationMAP, formerly METROPOLL.

Since 1983, DestinationMAP has been the North American comprehensive study focusing on the meeting and conventions market.

During the height of the economic downturn (2008-2009), DestinationMAP indicated that meeting holders were becoming much more cost-conscious. Specifically, they had become more concerned with travel, food and lodging costs as well as getting “good value” from a destination. Evidence indicated these cost concerns trumped convenient travel and a host of recreational and logistical considerations when meeting planners were selecting host sites for their upcoming meetings.

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The most recent study indicates cost concerns are falling off somewhat and meeting holders are starting to place renewed importance on travel convenience and recreational opportunities at sites.

Despite this relatively upbeat news, many of the realities of the economic downturn have not gone away. The vast majority of meetings planners said that they are going to negotiate more discounts and concessions and continue to shop value and price. These tendencies, though, are somewhat down from levels seen in 2009.