Certainly Uncertain

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Certainly Uncertain

By Rich Luna | Nov 1, 2019

The only certainty these days when it comes to economic projections seems to be…well…uncertainty, confusion, questions, pockets of confidence and optimism and a bit more uncertainty.

Our Fall edition of Meetings Outlook, A New Age of Uncertainty,” captures many of those elements in our final report for 2019. It’s not a surprising trend. We’ve seen aspects of concern about the economy in each of our quarterly reports this year. In our Summer edition in August, we cited a slight slowdown or shift coming as businesses and live attendance projections revealed some weaknesses, though suppliers were still benefiting from a healthy market.

This quarter’s report shows growth may be slowing in part due to economic and political uncertainly, yet the business of meetings is continuing at a healthy pace. Still, overall business conditions are the lowest reported in more than three years.

“Uncertainty is the name of the game right now,” Molly Marsh, CMP (MPI Kentucky Bluegrass Chapter), director of education and engagement design at AMR Management Services, told us. “I don’t know that I have a lot of leveraging power right now.”

She says she was in a good place when negotiating contracts over the last few years, but “since then, it’s gotten hard and harder.” Room rates are up. F&B costs are up. AV is up.

According to this survey of MPI members who are part of the Business Research Panel, the business environment is stable, but showing signs of slowing down, with concerns of instability. One interesting aspect is the difference between planners and suppliers: 40 percent of planners say conditions are favorable vs. 60 percent of suppliers.

Furthermore, 64 percent of respondents say the economic uncertainty is affecting business decisions, while 53 percent report that political uncertainty is doing the same.

“It’s certainly uncertain,” says Mike Dominguez (MPI Southern California Chapter), president and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International. From his perspective, the economic glass is half full.

“There is a slowdown in the rate of growth, not necessarily a retraction in the economy,” he says. “The economy is not going to slow down anytime soon.”

He points to such factors as the U.S. GDP for next year, projected at nearly 3 percent growth.

We spoke to other members, as well, about the state of the economy, and about climate change. While that topic has been in headlines around the world too, the majority of respondents interestingly say they are doing nothing different to address climate change. Responses ranges from “not sure what to do,” “there’s little discussion on the matter and it’s not a priority” to “it’s not seen as cost effective.”

This quarterly report is packed with insightful information and perspective from our members on both of these issues and other topics. Supported in partnership with the IMEX Group, Meetings Outlook, MPI’s award-winning signature research, is a must-read to stay informed on the latest trends and help industry professionals adapt to the always fluid landscape. Share your feedback at editor@mpiweb.org.

Congratulations to Blair Potter

The managing editor of The Meeting Professional celebrates his 20th anniversary with MPI in November. Blair is primarily responsible for managing the production of the print and digital editions of the magazine. His leadership, news judgement and attention to detail, as well as his reporting and writing, have contributed to a number of awards and recognitions over the years. He is a passionate advocate for the member voice and perspective in all of our editorial content. Beyond his work, Blair is also a good person and friend to all of us on the Media team at MPI. Congratulations Blair!

Until next time …

Rich Luna
Editor in Chief



Rich Luna

Rich Luna is Director of Publishing for MPI and Editor-in-chief of The Meeting Professional.