The International Congress and Convention Association just re-surveyed its global membership (the initial survey was last spring), and the results show that it's not just U.S. meeting planners that are worried.
The snapshot for this year: "In the October survey, 8.5% of respondents indicated to have suffered a significant downturn as a result of the economic environment, opposed to 6% in April, whilst 44% report no impact whatsoever, compared to 60% in April. The number of ICCA members reporting a slight impact of the economic environment on their business rose from 35% to 48%." Then again, almost 40 percent expect this year still to end up being an improvement over 2007.
Next year is a little whiffier. More than three-quarters think their business will be affected by the economy, and more than half expect "a significant negative global impact on the international meetings industry" over the next 18 months, up from 35 percent who answered this way on the April survey.
The heartening news, I thought, was that close to 70 percent weren't planning to make cuts in their marketing budgets (smart, people! Why is it that marketing is always the first thing to be cut, when it's what will bring in the business? I never understood that.). Most also weren't looking to make deep staff cuts in the near term, which should give rise to a big sigh of relief.
With how much the numbers have been changing in response to what's happening in the economy, though, this could all change tomorrow. It's a volatile world we're living in these days.