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There is plenty of reason for optimism in the meetings and event industry, according to the 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express Meetings & Events. They believe that growth prospects are good thanks to robust investments and increased competition in the supply chain. The expectation is that 2018 is likely to head in a more positive direction than this year.

People in the industry should be aware of several emerging trends that will allow them to take advantage of this. Technology will become ever more important with the possibilities of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and apps lending a new dimension to corporate events.

The localization of meetings remains a key trend and the geopolitical situation means that security will be a major consideration. The format of meetings is also changing. According to Issa Jouaneh, Senior Vice President and General Manager, American Express Meetings & Events, 

next year should be more positive around the world in terms of spend, number of meetings and attendees. Meanwhile, meeting owners are prioritizing attendee experience and engagement over scale. As a result, we expect to see shorter, more focused meetings.

In Europe, positivity regarding the coming year varies, with the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands feeling the most optimistic, although only the UK and Poland are expecting an increase in the amount of money spent. However, the unique conference venues in Europe including those who are a member of HCCE, should plan for 2018 with both care and hope.