IMEX America Index of Optimism Shows Industry Glass Remains “Half Full” With 76% of Respondents Feeling Optimistic

IMEX America Index of Optimism Shows Industry Glass Remains “Half Full” With 76% of Respondents Feeling Optimistic
Results from the latest IMEX America Index of Optimism suggest that North American buyers and suppliers remain firmly optimistic about future business prospects despite having to face up to continued economic challenges.

Just over 312 buyers and suppliers responded to the survey which was undertaken by the IMEX Group in July. (Total respondents: 312. Buyers – 73%; Suppliers – 27%).

When asked if they are currently feeling “more or less optimistic about the meetings industry than a year ago,” 76% agreed they are more optimistic. This compares to a slighter larger majority of 79% in February 2012 (albeit with fewer answering this specific question – Feb 2012: 146 compared to July 2012: 195). Last year just 66% (155 respondents) felt more optimistic than 12 months before. Further survey data in the final quarter are likely to show whether this is a sound upward trend or a short-term reaction.

84% Report Uptick in New Business Sources in Last Six Months
A strong majority of 84% of respondents also revealed they had attracted new sources of business in the last six months, suggesting that signs of growth are starting to show through in a more reliable way, especially when compared to 12 months ago when just 73% felt that business was picking up. 11% said they hadn’t increased business levels and the remaining 5% declared “don’t know.” Asked to compare their current situation with the previous six month period 46% felt it was “about the same” but a healthy 42% declared “it’s definitely getting better.”

Almost half of those surveyed – 46.5% – have also seen an increase in the number of attendees taking part in their events, although for 28% there was no discernible rise. In July last year 50% felt that numbers were growing, while in February 2012 it was 53%. However, given the relatively small sample size, this slight downturn is not thought to represent a significant trend but a reflection of normal business cycles.

In turn, 35% felt there was good evidence to show that spending per participant at their events had grown, although a majority of 43% have yet to see this important measure start to rise. A further 22% were “not sure.”

Political influences
Finally, when questioned regarding the impact the US presidential election campaign might have on their businesses in the next six months, mixed opinions were generated. While some felt that the pre-election period had not, and would not, impact their business, others felt that it had slowed down decision-making within the sector. Obama’s possible re-election also produced varied viewpoints. Comments ranged from “if Obama gets elected it will get better”, to another respondent who said his re-election would cause “the economy to slow down and business to retreat”. Other comments included “the logjam needs to break” while one respondent reflected the views of several others with: “We are looking for new, effective leadership and I’m not sure that either candidate applies.”

IMEX America kicks off at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas with Smart Monday – Powered by MPI – on Oct.08, followed by a three day trade show set to welcome in excess of 2000 hosted buyers, thousands more buyer attendees and around 2000 exhibiting companies from all over the world.

Registration is free and online
IMEX America is America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events and is already the largest trade show for the industry in the USA. The second edition will take place at the Sands Expo, Las Vegas, (which is connected to the show’s Headquarters Hotel, The Venetian®|The Palazzo®), Oct 9 – 11, 2012.

The show’s strategic partner and premier educational provider is MPI, who power “Smart Monday” – Oct. 08 – a full day of education on the day prior to the tradeshow. Smart Monday also includes a range of high level education delivered by other partners and associations; including Association Focus – a conference within a conference for association meeting planners – delivered by ASAE, ICCA and PCMA.

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