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 October 13, 2015
DCI Launches 2nd Edition of Winning Strategies Research; Targeting The Needs of North American Meeting Planners

 What does the path to purchase look like for meeting planners looking for their next meeting location? What are the best marketing and sales tactics for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to engage in to build a favorable image amongst meeting planners?

As competition among destination marketing organizations grows stronger and smarter, face-to-face meetings continue to rank as one of the most effective means of influencing meeting planners to consider a new destination, according to a new study released today by Development Counsellors International (DCI).

In its second edition, A View from Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing expands upon the 2012 report with new insights about the challenges facing the business events industry as well as forecasting future trends, providing destination marketers with an additional tool for competitive advantage.

"Our in-depth research into the state of the meetings and incentives industry and the best marketing practices to reach decision makers was the first of its kind in 2012," said DCI's Director of Business Events, Daniella Middleton. "The industry today has evolved -- it's time for a fresh look at the meeting planner's path to purchase and the factors influencing planner perceptions, with insights directly from planners themselves. This edition will serve as an essential marketing blueprint for destination and meeting sales professionals."

The study was based on a comprehensive survey of more than 200 North American meeting planners with global meeting planning responsibilities, conducted in mid-year 2015.

Key findings include:

- Meeting planners are most concerned about declining budgets, increased workload, and the responsiveness of suppliers when it comes to their business events.
- The three leading sources of information influencing meeting planner perceptions of meeting destinations are destination marketing organizations (DMO)/convention & visitors bureaus (CVB) (67%), business/personal travel (63%), and dialogue with industry peers (60%).
- When evaluating meeting destinations, 54% of respondents rely primarily on convention bureaus for information. 51% of meeting planners indicate that speaking to or emailing convention bureau staff is by far the most common form of interaction and 55% of respondents selected e-mail as the preferred method of communication with convention bureau representatives.
- Meeting face-to-face, whether at trade shows, receptions or educational workshops, rated as the most effective means of influencing meeting planners who may be considering a new destination.
- 68% of meeting planners prefer multi-destination educational workshops rather than single-destination educational workshops.
- A majority of respondents, 88%, consider educational trips (familiarizations) as either important or very important in influencing their perception of destinations.
- When asked to select the most favorable location for an international meeting, planners rated London, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, and Amsterdam as most favorably. As a nation, Italy prevailed, followed by the United Kingdom and Spain.
- When it came to preferred international convention bureaus, London topped the list, followed by Monaco, Barcelona, Dublin and Vienna.
- When asked to report on the least favorable locations for international business events, the Middle East, Mexico, Russia, Paris and Istanbul/Turkey were cited most frequently.