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Price alone not key for regional meeting planners

March 29, 2014 MICE No Comments Email Email

GIBTM 2014 today unveiled the eagerly anticipated release of the inaugural Middle East Buyers Report today (Tuesday 25 March), which surveyed planners from 10 countries in the Middle East, to gain direct insight into their purchasing habits and the decision-making process.

Rob DavidsonThe results highlighted that price alone was not a key driver for regional buyers in the meetings and incentives sector.

The myth about price-conscious buyers was clearly highlighted in three very specific questions. When regional buyers were asked which features were most important when choosing a venue, price came in fourth place (48%) behind ease of access (61%), Safety and security (52%) and professionalism of staff (52%).

It was a similar response when meeting planners were asked about the least helpful type of behaviour of venue staff. Inflexibility in price negotiation came in fourth position (55%) behind venue changes not communicated (61%), slow staff response (58%) and staff turnover (58%).

“Another interesting statistic was the fact that the flexibility of meetings space ranked higher than price, when considering which features of a venue were most important to a buyer,” said report author, Rob Davidson, Senior Lecturer in Events Management at the University of Greenwich, London.

Overall the study analysed the preferences of Middle East-based meeting planners in terms of the types of destinations and venues that they choose for their events, but also how they wish to interact with the sales and marketing professionals that are competing to host those events,” said Davidson.

Other highlights of the study were that the UAE is the leading destination 66% of meeting planners reporting having held meetings there in the last two years. Outside of the region, approximately 70% of planners also said that they had selected European destinations for their events with France, Spain, Austria, Italy and Turkey, respectively, the most popular countries.

Almost 50% of respondents have also held events in Asian countries, with Malaysia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka the top three ranked destinations.

The report also found that 97.5% of respondents opt for hotels in terms of venue preference, and this sends out a clear message to properties of the need to invest in state-of-the-art facilities, technology and offer dedicated propositions.

“The results from this unique survey are invaluable. It is also indicative of GIBTM’s commitment towards content-rich knowledge programmes. Understanding the traits and mindsets of Middle Eastern buyers is critical, to the viability of destinations, hotels and venues,” said Lois Hall, Exhibition Manager, GIBTM.

This ground-breaking research formed an integral part of the enhanced GIBTM Knowledge programme, sponsored by Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) and supported by the world’s leading industry associations, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association, SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Executives), MPI (Meetings Professional International).

This year’s GIBTM event, which is taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) until tomorrow (Wednesday 26 March), is being attended by local, regional and international suppliers and buyers. Over 8,000 face-to-face appointments have been arranged alongside an expanded line-up of interactive seminars and panel sessions.

GIBTM expects to welcome over 250 regional and international Hosted Buyers from 36 countries who will meet with up to 300 exhibitors from 35 destinations from around the world. Of which 74 are brand new to the show, with companies from Kazakhstan, Russia, Morocco, South Africa and South Korea making their debuts, the highest level since the show’s inception. The European Pavilion which returns due to popular demand, welcomes 25% more exhibitors, again the highest level in the shows history.

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