MPI Perspective - October 2009 - (Page 8)

CONTINENTAL By Amy Drew Thompson It’s the 21st century and the experts have changed their minds: The world is actually flat. But if the economy is officially “global,” why is Western commerce still catching its breath while the East has gotten up and is dusting itself off? And what does this mean to the meetings industry? SHIFT economic substance, so that affects everything — more travel, more meetings, more consumption.” As India and China continue to see development of this nature, so, too, will they see an impressive increase of professionals in every sector clamoring to join organizations within their respective fields. “Demand on the corporate side will begin to rise, but we should not forget that demand on the association side also is set to increase,” says Luxembourg-based Didier Scaillet, MPI’s chief development officer. “The majority of the infrastructure that has been built in China is likely first and foremost for the domestic market. That being said, they will compete for global events as well. You will see meetings and conventions that traditionally took place in Europe or North America begin rotating within the Middle East and Asia.” Although Asian markets, including those in the Middle East, certainly have felt the sting of the West’s enduring recession, they already are pulling out of their tailspin and — according to some — escorting the world into recovery, leading many to believe that the economic new world order will be driven far less by powerbrokers in the U.S. and Europe and more so by decision makers in places like Macau and Mumbai. As is common with changes in the business climate, the most daunting situations often are rife with opportunity. “The people in these parts of the world are thirsty for information and knowledge,” says Ross Robinson, founder of Montreal-based Robinson Consultants and a 30-year industry veteran who calls these regions powerhouses of growth. “They see the economic and prestige benefits to hosting international conferences… which have to rotate and build attendance numbers. Young professionals will sacrifice to participate in these educational opportunities. This is a win-win scenario for organizers.” Trend 2: The Battle for Buyers If you thought competition was tight domestically, gear up for a new version of the Olympics. With supply way up and demand still down, deals are ripe for the picking, at home and abroad. “Negotiations are on steroids,” says Brown, who counted something like 107 tower cranes in Dubai for a global event in March. “It’s a buyer’s market. They dictate the deal because competition has just exploded.” But that’s still only one side of the equation. Depending on the industry, many companies have put their meeting and travel budgets on strict diets. It’s the “AIG effect” — a knee-jerk reaction named for the now-infamous $440,000 luxury-resort excursion the company’s executives enjoyed only days after receiving a government-funded cash infusion of $85 billion. “That’s reality,” says Brown, whose company recently had a client cancel a meeting slated for a Ritz-Carlton. “They were going to give us a $99-to-$119 rate, which is great! But it’s about image. Even if you find a rate that’s superior to another four-star property at a Ritz-Carlton, it’s guilt by association.” State-of-the-art meetings-driven infrastructure is being built in China, Dubai and India, areas that seemed like daunting Trend 1: More is More Many Asian countries have had an undeniable upsurge in population in recent years, but what may be even more significant are the vast numbers of people ascending the socioeconomic ladder in these burgeoning regions. “I read an article recently that said [India] is averaging 10 million people moving into its middle class every year. That’s huge,” says Tim Brown, a partner at Irvine, Calif.-based Meet Sites Resource, a global planning organization that executes approximately 30 percent of its meetings internationally. “These people are doing things they’ve never done before. Basically, these countries are exploding in population and 8 | MPINCCperspective | VOL. 28, NO. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - October 2009

MPI Perspective - October 2009
President’s Message
Continental Shift
Team Building Events with a Philanthropic Twist
MPINCC – Shaping Careers Throughout the Years Getting to know … Matthew Schermerhorn, CMP
Member Pearls
CMP U — Experience, Knowledge, Support
Chapter Chatter
Team Building Activities in Winter
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - October 2009