2019 looks set to be a year of growth for the luxury meetings and incentives sector, according to exclusive research from the inVOYAGE community which reveals that 91% of event professionals expect their luxury events business to grow next year.
We surveyed more than 200 participants that attended inVOYAGE 2018 last month – the annual forum for luxury meeting and events professionals – to gauge the current trends in the market. And the forecast looks positive, with only a small minority (9%) of buyers and suppliers stating that they do not expect their luxury events business to grow in 2019.
The majority of respondents (82%) said they had seen a year-on-year increase in the number of luxury events organised or hosted in 2018, compared to 2017, with 5% seeing no change and just 13% reporting a decrease.
More than half (56%) reported an increase in their clients’ event spend per head in 2018, compared to 2017, whilst less than a third (32%) saw budgets decrease and 12% said there was no change to budgets.
On the subject of budgets, CWT M&E VP EMEA Ian Cummings said in an interview at inVOYAGE 2018 that the agency had seen budgets largely stay the same or increase. However, he also noted that: “it’s an increasing challenge for agencies to deliver more on existing budgets – client budget per head is not keeping pace with expectations.”
Our survey also revealed that personalisation remains a core focus for luxury event profs. When asked what they are seeing as increasingly important in luxury events, 89% of inVOYAGE delegates placed personalisation top of their list, with 63% ranking experiences in second place, whilst 23% placed event technology second.
inVOYAGE Co-founder & CEO Richard Joslin says: “It’s great to see a growing multinational confidence in the luxury incentives and events sector. We are seeing an increasingly strong dynamic between corporates, agencies, luxury hoteliers, DMCs and destination professionals at inVOYAGE with a common language of personalisation and experiential programming coming to the fore. Our focus is on further developing this dynamic at inVOYAGE by ensuring the best of the industry are in the room.”
The growing inVOYAGE community features some of the most influential international buyers and luxury travel brands from around the globe, including the US, Asia, UK and EMEA markets, representing a strong and diverse cross-section of the industry.
The 2018 event in Ras Al Khaimah attracted senior directors from brands and agencies including Informa, Mary Kay, Dior, Grass Roots M&E, CWT M&E, Black Tomato Agency, ATPI, George P Johnson, Quintessentially and BI Worldwide, as well as luxury suppliers including Belmond, Silversea, Design Hotels, Rosewood, Dubai Business Events, Green Route Africa, Incent India, Shangri-La, Lucerne Convention Bureau and Accor Luxury.
By Susie Harwood