CIC Economic Significance Study:
Change in any industry is inevitable; it is how you grow with that change that makes all the difference in future success. The events and meetings industry is constantly on the fast track, as clients try to stay ahead of the pack with trends and technological advancements. With the recent economic struggles of the travel and tourism industry as a whole, many business have had to do more with less, causing a great deal of headache for both suppliers and planners alike. Recently, many experts have been seeing a slight redirection in the economy, spawning many organizations to begin reaching deeper into their pockets once again. The Association Meetings Magazine cover story discussed the Convention Industry Council Economic Significance Study in conjunction with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The data in this study showed that both the number of conferences and dollar value generated have increased year over year, with 280,000 Conventions & Conferences taking place in 2009 generating over $263 Billion in direct spending. Hotels have also seen an increase in overall consumption, with $250 Million in room nights used in 2009. The article stated that a good way to compare these numbers is that the meetings and events industry is larger in sale than the U.S Auto Industry. It is evident that with positive changes in industries such as business travel, that this is a good indication of the direction of the economy overall.
United States Government to Revamp Visa Process:
There are a number of reasons to be optimistic with the travel industry, one of which is the improvement in the U.S Travel Association Visa process. Since September 11th, 2001 the stipulations for international travelers coming into the United States has been filled with red tape. This change in operation has swayed many foreign travelers’ decisions on choosing the United States as a destination. The changes will consist of opening additional visa offices in high demand areas, such as China, Brazil, India and various European countries, and the U.S Travel association is pushing for videoconference based visa interviews. The government is also looking to reduce the visa interview wait time to 10 days or less. Meetingsnet.com has found that many times the wait for a visa interview in Brazil could be upwards of 145 days. For this reason, additional staff will need to be hired in order to make the overall process go smoother. The U.S Travel Association is also pushing to expand the visa waiver program to other nations and have more transparency with the performance of the visa process, in order to track the productivity of the changes in operations.
SAP – Sapphire Now:
One of the most anticipated events of the year recently took place this past May, with software giant SAP’s Sapphire Now Annual Conference. This technology based educational event attracts techies from around the globe. For this reason, SAP and ASUG devised an event concept that would incorporate individuals that could not make it to Orlando, buy having live sessions at numerous locations throughout the world as well as integrating online media capabilities that rival any event produced. Sapphire Now compiles all forms of media coverage from each live location, so that individuals can be anywhere in the world and still receive the personalized educational content and social engagements that the event offers. The event takes the term “high-tech” to new altitudes, with conference television shows, real time video feeds of each keynote, social media integration all of which are compiled in an onsite touch screen wall which compiles all aspects of the conference for attendees to view, collaborate and converse with online conference attendees.
Starcite Upgrades to more flexible system:
One of the more popular meeting management websites, Starcite announced recently that it has upgraded to a more user friendly design format, in order to make it easier for planners and suppliers alike. With the RFP process becoming more detailed and more often web based, it is important for website such as Starcite to be up to speed on the most affective technology, making for a better user experience for their customers.