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2011 ONWARDSDan Rivlin, MD of internationalorganiser Kenes InternationalOur industry is undergoing quickchanges, which will turn us into one of themore competitive industries. While we donot feel these obvious changes, I believethat we will see in the near future muchmore competiveness. The competition willspread from price to value and will forcecompanies to develop or obtaincapabilities in areas such as media andnew media, consultancy, strategicplanning, fund raising and legal issues. Professional conference organisers, a veryoutdated term by itself, will take vertical andhorizontal integrations in order to becomebigger and more diversified. This will be theonly way to survive. Therefore, we are likely to see additionalspread of the bigger ones, similar expansionsfrom mid-size companies and diversificationinto new areas. Kenes is planning to increaseits staffing for 2011 with our figures showingan anticipated increase of 30 per cent over2010. The world is moving into a morecompetitive environment than ever before. Ifwe translate it into price only, we are likely tomiss the point. It is also about cost, as ourclients are likely to look into increasing theirown profits (or at least maintain similar profitlevels), but it is mostly about value and this isthe real story. We will need to develop newexpertise for clients in order to help themand us survive."Des McLaughlin, MD of VenueProcurement at Grass RootsI predicted last year that we woulddiversify our business mix and we won twomajor accounts in new business sectors.We saw growth of 20 per cent year-on-year, exceeding our target and forwardbusiness for 2011 is continuing the trend.We also launched our New York office inApril, which has performed really well. I was also more optimistic than most aboutan upturn in meetings and events for 2010and again this has proved true. We expectclients' meetings business to continue toshow steady controlled growth and will addto this through acquiring new accounts. Wewill continue to grow globally, taking a 'huband spoke' approach. Our next officeopening is in Singapore in January 2011. I think the last two years have made us takestock of what differentiates Grass Roots fromour competitors and focus on developingthese areas. If you don't know what yourunique selling points are then it will simplycome down to who is the cheapest."Geoff Fenlon, General Managerof The ICC Birmingham, UKFor The ICC Birmingham, 2010 was asignificant improvement compared to theprevious calendar year. Particularly webegan to see the returning prominence ofthe corporate market, with big businessesonce again holding big events.The industry may further contract in 2011and onwards, as over-capacity and publicspending cuts squeeze smaller and largervenues alike. Venues will be under pressureto provide return-on-investment forcustomers. They must deliver, or they willlose the business. In terms of our clients, we expect thecorporate market to continue to improvebut only in certain sectors, such as financialservices and automotive. The associationmarket will remain strong. Delegates willlook to get more out of their time atconferences, making the most of theopportunity that they provide to network."Jonny Sullens, Portfolio Directorfor International Confex, UBM LiveDuncan Reid, the former PortfolioDirector, was pretty near the mark lasttime out and the challenge for us ispredicting a year when our product sitssolidly in the first quarter. A good industrytradeshow should be a benchmark for howthe industry is doing and InternationalConfex is no different. The cuts to regionalLooking forwardLast year threw the international meetings industry a few curve balls with new venues launched,companies going into liquidation and the fall of corporate meetings. Sarah O'Donnellasks a selection of industry leaders what they see in 2011's crystal ball. 'If you don't know whatyour unique sellingpoints are then it willsimply come down towho is the cheapest'12www.c-mw.netConference+Meetings WorldJanuary 2011Dan RivlinDes McLaughlinGeoff FenlonJonny Sullens