Where the DMC Business is Going: 2006 Results of Exclusive GEP Survey of Worldwide DMC Partners Gives Snapshot of Expectations for the Year Ahead

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We did a proprietary survey of DMCs - destination management companies - covering 60 cities around the world, asking them what they anticipated for 2006 . . . will group business travel increase, what markets will be "hot" for meetings and events, etc. Close to 40 responded, indicating, among other things, a surprising interest in places such as Eastern Europe and China as locations for large business meetings, and a smaller-than-expected interest in NYC (Las Vegas and Orlando, on the other hand, should remain "hot hot hot").

Global Events Partners (GEP), a partnership of destination management companies worldwide, today released the results of a proprietary survey of its partner destination management companies (DMCs), representing more than 60 countries worldwide, which asked partners to indicate where they think the business is going in 2006.

The results provide a compelling snapshot of what 2006 may look like for the industry around the world, in terms of anticipated revenues; sources of those revenues; and “hot” destinations likely to generate the most business from meeting planners and others engaged in planning corporate events.

A summary of survey results, and the methodology employed in the survey, follow.

2006 DMC Survey Results:

Approximately two-thirds of GEP’s partners responded to the survey, representing close to 40 countries worldwide, including Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, and all major markets within the United States.

Among those responding to the survey:

· More than 80% of all respondents expected revenues for corporate events to increase in 2006, versus 2005.

All but one DMC in the U.S. expected revenues to increase year over year, with a slightly smaller percentage of DMCs outside the U.S expressing similarly optimistic views.

· Sentiment was even stronger for anticipated revenue receipts from meeting planners - More than 90% of those surveyed expected to see more money spent by meeting planners for corporate events in 2006.

Every respondent to the survey in the U.S. expected to see expenditures by corporate meeting planners increase, while internationally, several partners thought corporate meeting revenues would either “decrease or stay the same.”

· Expectations were more split in the area of “big events,” defined as a corporate event involving more than 200 participants.

Among those partners responding, approximately two-thirds expect that the number of “big events” will increase in 2006 – by contrast, approximately one-third, predominantly outside the U.S., predict that revenues from big events will either “decrease or stay the same.”

· Among reasons cited for a possible fall-off in “big event” activity: The large numbers of big events held in 2005 (making year-over-year comparisons weaker), and increasing interest among meeting planners in holding smaller, more targeted events in more intimate settings.

· There were some surprises among the destinations that GEP partners believe will be the “hottest” for corporate meetings and events in 2006 – among them:

· New York City and San Francisco were mentioned infrequently, with less than 10 percent of respondents citing them as likely to be “hot” destinations for groups from within their regions in 2006.

· China and Eastern Europe emerged as new favorites, with several partners mentioning them as increasingly attractive destinations.

· Las Vegas and Orlando, perennial favorites, were mentioned by close to half the respondents, and seem likely continuing as favorites among meeting planners.

· Addtionally cited among “hot” destinations: In the U.S., San Diego, Miami, and Chicago drew multiple responses – internationally, France, the United Kingdom and the South Pacific received at least three mentions.

Commenting on the survey results, Chris White, GEP’s Chairman and CEO, said: “We are pleased to share these results with the DMC and meeting planning industries. As we close 2005, a year that saw strong results for the destination management industry worldwide, 2006 looks like it will be even better.”

White concluded, “The spirit that seems to be animating our industry – worldwide, from Miami to Malaysia to Madrid – is one of optimism and expected growth despite a certain amount of continuing political and economic uncertainty.”

“We thank our partners for their participation in this study, and applaud their vision, optimism and energy as we move toward another exciting year.”

Summarizing the Challenges:

In addition to changes in anticipated revenues and in the make-up of their business, GEP partner DMCs were asked to summarize the most pressing challenges facing their DMC businesses:

The most frequently cited challenges were:

· Short turnaround times for responding to RFPs and proposals

· Increasing operating costs – including healthcare and insurance for employees

· Challenges in locating training, and retaining qualified staff

· Continued pressures on profit margins, as meeting planners and procurement specialists become even more careful about allocating resources

White commented, “As we move toward 2006, the DMC industry remains not only vibrant and optimistic but, as any business, confronted by challenges that can affect profits at every level of a DMC organization.”

He concluded, “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to identify those areas in which GEP can be of greatest help – and continuing to work together to build the most efficient, effective, forward-looking partnership of DMCs in the world.”

Methodology: About the Survey

To obtain survey results, questionnaires were distributed via email to owners and principals of the more than sixty (60) Global Events Partners DMCs worldwide.

Each partner was asked to respond to five questions:

1. Do you expect revenues for your DMC business to increase or decrease in calendar year 2006 versus 2005?

2. Do you expect to see “big events”- those involving more than 200 people – increase or decrease year over year?

3. Do you expect to seem more or less revenue from corporate meeting planners?

4. What do you expect to be the “hot” meeting and event destinations in 2006?

5. What do you see as the major business issues facing DMCs in 2006?

Each partner was assured of the confidentiality of his/her responses, but was advised that each response would be used to formulate conclusions in the aggregate.

About Global Events Partners (GEP)

Launched in 1999, Global Events Partners’ portfolio includes more than 60 leading destination management companies (DMCs) around the world. A DMC is a professional services company possessing extensive local knowledge and resources, specializing in the design and execution of group tours, transportation, events, activities and program logistics. GEP partners provide consistently high quality DMC services in the most desirable locations worldwide. For more information on Global Events Partners, visit http://www.globaleventspartners.com.

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Michael Frenkel
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