The findings of the online survey conducted by Rob Davidson of the MICE Knowledge Consultancy for the 2nd China MICE Buyers’ Report were launched at CIBTM (www.cibtm.com), the leading Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings exhibition, which took place from 17-19 September at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC), Beijing. The survey looked into China meeting planners’ priorities and experiences in choosing event venues and destinations and revealed that planners are now more concerned about saving money.
In the last 12 months, the report noted that the market has matured, and now Chinese meeting planners appear to be “much more businesslike and pragmatic” in their choices of destinations and venues, with similar priorities and demands of buyers in other world regions.
This year, price and a match to business interests have emerged as key factors in buyers’ choices of places in which to hold their events. ‘This doesn’t mean that overseas destinations are out of bounds – on the contrary, almost half of the meeting planners in the survey reported that they had a completely global outlook in terms of the countries where their events could be held’ reports Davidson.
“Last year, planners were more interested in the tourism aspect of destinations. This year, we can see that the Chinese market is becoming more like the other parts of the world, where people are looking for a good price from the venues and destinations,” he added.
The Chinese government’s new belt-tightening policies are a major factor driving these changes, which are in turn altering the landscape of the Chinese meetings market as they have curbed the expansion of extravagant events funded from the public purse. One consequence of this is that there are fewer meetings lasting 5+ days although Chinese events are still longer than their equivalents in other national markets, suggesting a move toward a convergence between practices in the Chinese MICE industry and the typical markets overseas.
Another significant finding from this year’s survey is the increase in Chinese planners’ levels of satisfaction with both the quality and quantity of venues available. The percentages of buyers reporting that they find it ‘very easy’ or ‘quite easy’ to find useful information on destinations and venues in China have increased significantly since last year.
“Researching the Chinese market for meetings and events has been a fascinating activity for me this year. Anyone who attended CIBTM in Beijing must have noticed the buzz of activity on and around the stands, a sure sign of the dynamism and energy that is typical of this market right now,” added Davidson.
“The sheer size of the Chinese market for meetings and events makes it a major player on the global scale. China is already the world’s biggest market for outbound tourism, and it set to overtake the US as the number one national consumer of business travel services. For meetings, conferences and incentive travel, China is hugely important, both as a destination and as an outbound market too. Add to this the massive scale of the Chinese domestic market for business events, bolstered by an expanding economy, and it’s easy to see why we can’t ignore what’s going on in that country. It’s clear from the findings of my research that the Chinese meetings and events market is changing fast, and the contents of this report and my “Venue Trends Report” will be essential reading for anyone already working with this market, or planning to in the future,” concluded Davidson.