APAC braces for more belt-tightening in 2019: Amex Meetings & Events

With clients using more stringent cost management, event planners are being pressed to deliver greater ROIs at reduced budgets in the coming year.

APAC braces for more belt-tightening in 2019: Amex Meetings & Events

Event planners in Asia Pacific are expected to be under more pressure to deliver greater ROI as costs will rise faster than budgets next year, according to the 2019 Global Meetings and Events Forecast released by American Express Meetings & Events. 

Quoting testimonials from respondents across China, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia, the survey paints a picture of what clients in this region value in terms of ROI. For example, a respondent from Australia said clients define ROI by financial calculations and increased sales achieved based on a meeting. Planners from other regions are believed to be more focused on attendee experience.

A few cost-cutting measures are therefore in line to manage budgets. For example, a quarter of the survey respondents said they will opt for second-tier destinations. More importantly, managing costs will mean reducing event length and attendance for certain markets in the region. 

Meeting planners in Australia, for instance, are anticipating a slight decrease in event length. Product launches held there are expected to be 1.75% shorter, while customer advisory boards and internal meetings may see small reductions in length. In contrast, meeting planners in China expect longer meetings, with the increases ranging from 1.32% for product launches to 2.36% for customer advisory boards. 

Japan, meanwhile, has moderate growth expectations across product launches, conferences, trade shows and customer advisory boards in 2019. The country is, however, leading the region with the highest per-attendee spend. Internal meetings in Japan average $2,350 per attendee, while conferences, trade shows and incentives cost $2,500 per attendee, respectively. Product launch meetings are the least expensive in Japan, at $1,975 per attendee.

Australia, on the other hand, has the lowest per attendee budgets in the region, with the cost of customer advisory boards going as low as $1,100 per person. Product launch spending Down Under can go up to $1,708 per attendee, but budgets for internal team, training meetings, incentives and special events averages at $1,587 per person. 

Hong Kong and China fall into the middle with internal meetings averaging $1,511 per attendee and $1,821 for incentives. The highest spend is reserved for senior leadership and board meetings, at $2,250. Planners in these two markets should, however, anticipate increasing costa across all events, with margins ranging from 1.1% for internal meetings to 2.7% for incentives, and 2% or more for other categories. 

At the same time, Hong Kong and China are driving growth in incentives and special events, as these two categories are pinpointed to have the most growth in activity across the region. Similarly, these two markets are also expected to see the most growth in attendance with increases ranging from 1.6% for senior leadership and board meetings to 3.4% for product launches and 3.6% for incentives and special events.

Likewise, product launches and conferences and trade shows in China are estimated to see the most growth in activity, at 2.0% and 1.9%, respectively. Australia, on the other hand, is expected to see small decreases in activity across all meeting types. Therefore, meeting planners in Australia should also expect a small decrease in attendance, especially for internal meetings and product launches. 


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