Impact Publications : MICEBTN-73
Page 6 • MICEBTN - September 2019 Despite headwinds, 2020 global meetings and events could post eight pc growth THE US$840 billion global meet- ings and events industry is poised for eight per cent growth in 2020 despite looming geopolitical and economic headwinds, according to the 2020 Future Trends Report published by CWT M&E. The report says the protracted trade war between the US and Chi- na is creating general uncertainty in the global business community heading into 2020. Adding to the anxiety is the fu- ture of Brexit and its cascading im- pact on the European Union, while in Asia, the protests in Hong Kong that started in June have impacted demand across the region. Growing concern over climate change also is clouding business sentiment . Despite these issues, there are reasons to be upbeat, says Kurt Ekert , president and chief executive at CWT. “Face-to-face meetings are criti- cal to establishing connections be- tween brands and their customers, and employees and their companies, especially during times of uncer- tainty,” Ekert said. Knowing how to manage risks globally while putting together an authentic and measurable expe- rience for all participants will be key for success in this space in the coming year and beyond.” Digitisation The report identifies key devel- opments in the industry in 2020, including digitisation, with event web sites being created at a rapid pace— up 52 per cent year-over- year — as more customers utilise these sites to drive increased engagement. Mobile devices are also adding new func- tionality, with apps that allow organisers to create a higher degree of personalisation for attendees. CWT M&E estimates the number of event apps created since 2017 has jumped 83 per cent, while the percentage of attendees downloading apps rose from 50 per cent in 2017 to 74 per cent year-to-date in 2019. Demographics This emphasis on dig- itisation is being driven by the changing demo- graphics as millennials are poised to become the biggest group of business travellers global- ly from 2024 onwards. Right at their heels are the so-called centennials (born 1996 onwards), the first group that can claim to be digital natives as they have never known a world without the internet, smartphones and apps. “This younger group of travellers is all about experience, authentic- ity and participation,” said Derek Sharp, senior vice president and managing director, CWT Meetings & Events. “Not content to merely ‘attend’ events, millennials and cen- tennials use technol- og y to actively ‘par- ticipate’ in the expe- rience — pre-event, during the event , and after it. Organisers are responding with innovations that put a premium on the ability to personalise experiences, cou- pled with ways of measuring the result- ing engagement .” Kurt Ekert, president and chief executive at CWT. Derek Sharp, senior vice president and managing director, CWT Meetings & Events.