January 2011Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.net132011 ONWARDSdevelopment agencies in the UK willimpact, as will the business from localauthorities and government. That said, theprivate sector is in a better place and whileit is right to countenance measures ofausterity there isn't the blanket ban onforeign travel, event spend and corporatehospitality there was in 2009. By following the industry trends, we arehopefully well placed to deliver great resultsfor all those organisations that supportConfex. The launch of and investment inthese initiatives made us competitive in2010/11, and by building on them we wantto grow Confex throughout the year."Juliet Price, Head of Marketingat Hotelzon and new chair of theUK Hotel Booking AgentsAssociationFor 2010, Hotelzon was predicting atough year and the first half was certainlyas anticipated, though we did see anincrease in the number of meetings heldfrom 2009. We have experienced higherforward demand, especially with overseasbookings, which had disappeared last year.There has been growing confidence fromthe private sector, however always with aview to keeping costs reined in. Next year we anticipate a modest overallincrease in average daily rate and fairly staticvolumes, especially in the first half of theyear. Further consolidation around meetingspend and greater support of travel policies,will be high on the agenda for our accountmanagement reviews.With markets as they are, and with manypotential customers on a merry-go-round ofconsidering switching from one-stop-shopping with TMCs to best of breed andback again, we hope to see a growth."Ruth Carter, Chief Executive ofUBM ConferencesThe world of conferences has certainlypicked up more quickly than I hadexpected. I thought we would still be inpain until the end of the year but the greenshoots have continued to grow. One thing Ihadn't anticipated was the problems withrecruitment. Finding the right people, withthe right background and the right passionhas been incredibly challenging.There hasn't been an improvement acrossthe board but rather some segments haveperformed better than expected. There arestill market sectors in a lot of pain.I think the challenge will come from twoareas: firstly staffing and, secondly, a moreinternational focus from our customers andclients. The UK is a resilient economy but so manyof our customers are looking into Asia orSouth America that we will all need to dealwith that change. We've seen steady growthin Europe and the US but strong in India,China and South America."Trevor Elswood, Group ManagingDirector of BSI Demand has increased in the meetingssector and there has certainly been anincreased focus on new technology andstrategic procurement approaches fromthose responsible for this spend category.We've witnessed the increase in onlineadoption levels, with internal meetingsspace bookings rising. Technology has certainly taken the strainand allowed us to absorb the growth,keeping the pressures that it brings undercontrol. It has also provided us with theopportunity to increase the speed of servicedelivery, and to penetrate new markets. In the agency market place, we willcontinue to see a shift in market sharetowards the bigger players as corporategovernance dictates that large corporateorganisations look to the larger agencies todeliver economic efficiency throughprocurement, compliance and cost control. There comes a point where you can'tfeasibly reduce costs of service any further,but this is where strategic value becomes theessential differentiator, effectively examiningand addressing customer expenditure toremove and reduce their direct costs." Martin Sirk, CEO of theInternational Congress andConvention Association:In the last article I professed my faith inthe resilience of the internationalassociation meetings sector, and 2010 hasproved that to be correct. Associationsmay be under financial pressure in theirsponsorship and exhibitions, but theirattendances are robust and new eventsare constantly being created, especiallyamongst regional associations (worldcongresses are definitely under morepressure). As before, almost no cancellations andpostponements are being reported. ICCAhas done well off the back of this resilience,and we expect to report record levels ofmembership recruitment by the year's end. In many established European destinationsone of the biggest worries relates togovernment cutbacks and the respectivemeetings. Most countries in Asia Pacific are booming,with fewer cutbacks, and with capitalinvestment still running at historically highlevels. Corporate meetings are on the comebacktrail, albeit with the usual traits that we seeat the tail-end of every downturn, such asreluctance to commit early, insistence onlooser contractual conditions, price pressure,and cutting out the frills."Juliet PriceRuth CarterTrevor ElswoodMartin Sirk'The UK is a resilienteconomy, but so manyof our customers arelooking into Asia orSouth America'
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