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Mice Net : December 2008
news as 2007 they are finding it harder to confirm business. “We have had cancellations, however we are finding most clients are simply postponing their meetings and events until mid to late 2009,” he said. “In terms of conferencing there is certainly evidence of smaller numbers. Our clients appear to be cutting back on long distance travel so onshore events are certainly increasing in popularity.” General manager of Leading Edge Conferences, Jo Mahoney, says conferences her company has organised in 2008 have had lower delegate numbers than in previous years “which of course impacts [on] everything from our commission on rooms to being able to do some wow stuff”. “The conferences showing that reduction in delegate numbers were retail clients and I think that’s just a reflection of the whole retail market,” she said. “For 2009 the clients are certainly keen to keep costs down and all our conferences next year are looking to be onshore – it’s seen as ‘appropriate’ for delegate-funded conferences not to be looking too extravagant by choosing offshore locations. Of course the exchange rate is a major player in staying onshore also. “Saying all that I don’t believe this will go on beyond 2009. I believe that we are on the verge of a great opportunity from 2010 onwards if companies can ride the wave in the meantime. Who knows, it may help weed out some players who are fly-by-nighters and leave those that offer great service, professionalism and ethical pricing structures.” Survey responses As mentioned, mice.net was inundated with a huge number of responses to our online request for information. Below are some additional comments received. We apologise to those whose comments are not included due to page restraints. Business has softened, particularly in sponsorship, and [companies are] hesitate to commit to exhibitions. Clients are scaling back their meetings and events activity. [They are] justifying their spend more. - Name aNd address withheld The Australian Jockey Club at Royal Randwick is presently experiencing a decrease in enquiries and interest [for events, especially charity events]. Organisers are concerned with the possibility of low attendance for these events which may result in poor sales and possibly lack of corporate support in terms of sponsorship (cash or kind), therefore they have opted to either downsize the scale of the event or postpone it to 2010 when the market is healthier. Some blue chip companies such as banks and financial institutions are cutting down or downsizing on luxury or non- essential expenses such as mice.net 5