American Express Meetings & Events Reports Asia Pacific to Lead All Regions in Growth in Spend and Number of Meetings in 2013

  American Express Meetings & Events Reports Asia Pacific to Lead All Regions
  in Growth in Spend and Number of Meetings in 2013

 With Higher Meetings Costs and Tighter Budgets, North America Expected to Be
  Relatively Flat and Europe and Central/South America Projected to Decline

 Latest Edition of the Meetings & Events Forecast Also Highlights Top Meeting
                     Destinations in Each Region in 2013

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- November 27, 2012

According to the American Express Meetings & Events 2013 Global Meetings
Forecast (“the Forecast”), Asia Pacific, with its relatively strong economy,
is likely to see the strongest growth among regions in both spending and the
number of meetings. In North America, economic uncertainty is expected to keep
those categories relatively flat, while Europe will likely experience declines
as it continues to face a currency crisis and, due to political instability in
some markets, Central/South America is also expected to see slight declines
overall, especially in spend.

The findings are based on a comprehensive survey, extensive meetings and
events data, and in-depth interviews of meetings professionals – including
planners, buyers and hotel suppliers from around the world – conducted by
American Express Meetings & Events. The Forecast examines predictions
regarding budget, spend, the number of meetings, lead times and other
meetings-specific metrics by geographic market. It also provides insight into
key trends in meeting planning for 2013, and explores some of the key tactics
meeting planners are using to reduce costs and improve program efficiency.

“Companies consider meetings and events to be a key strategy to driving
revenue growth and change management, but acknowledge that they are proceeding
with caution in a challenging global economy,” said Issa Jouaneh, Vice
President and General Manager, American Express Meetings & Events. “To
maximize the return on their investment, companies are highly focused on
gaining clarity around spend, ensuring transparency as to why their
organizations are holding meetings and who is attending them, and measuring
the degree to which their meetings objectives have been achieved.”

“While Asia Pacific is likely to experience growth in 2013, as Europe sees
declines, meeting professionals in every region point to budget challenges and
the need to ascertain their companies’ own financial performance before they
make investments in meetings as top influencers of their programs,” continued
Jouaneh. “As a result, one of the top emerging trends in the space is the
shift to more local meetings. Meetings professionals are also preparing for
group hotel and air expenses to rise next year.”

Below are high-level snapshots of the key predictions made by meetings
professionals in each region.

        Survey Highlights: Regional Meetings Professional Predictions

Prediction:      North America  Europe       Asia        Central/South
                                                             America
Number of         0.0%            (-2.3)%       6.4%         (-1.1)%
Meetings
Overall Meeting   (-1.0)%         (-6.0)%       4.2%         (-3.5)%
Spend
Average Group
Rates for         4.2%            0.0%          4.0%         4.7%
Hotels
Average Group
Rates for         3.3%            2.9%^(1)      2.9%         3.2%^(2)
Airfare
                                  1. London     1.           1. Riviera Maya/
                  1. Orlando                    Shanghai     Cancun/ Quintana
                                  2. Paris                   Roo
                  2. Washington                 2.
                  DC              3.            Singapore    2. Rio De
Top 5                             Amsterdam                  Janeiro
Destinations      3. Las Vegas                  3. Sydney
                                  4.                         3. San Juan
                  4. Miami        Barcelona     4. Beijing
                                                             4. Buenos Aires
                  5. Chicago      5. Brussels   5. Bangkok
                                                             5. Punta Cana

1) Average of Eastern and Western European predictions
2) Average of Central and South American predictions

Global Meeting Planning Trends

The Forecast also explores several challenges meeting planners are facing as
they look to 2013, and identifies four distinct trends that are common across
all markets:

1) Budget Challenges Mean More Local Meetings – To maintain current levels of
meetings activity in an environment where budgets are likely not growing in
step with costs, many companies are transitioning from global to national or
from national to regional locations for more meetings. Also, there is a trend
of holding meetings in unique destinations such as restaurants or aquariums
for potential additional savings.

2) Security and Stability Impacting Destination Choice – A continued emphasis
on duty of care is translating to a focus on safety and security amidst
potential political instability when planning a meeting in 2013. Suppliers
indicated that this can sometimes be an advantage; for instance, some major
hotel brands located in regions with political instability said they are often
chosen based on the perception amongst meeting planners that they offer a more
consistent, higher level of security.

3) Meetings Approvals Becoming More Challenging – A significant portion of
meeting planners in all regions indicated that gaining approvals for their
meetings is becoming at least slightly more difficult. In addition, there is
an emerging trend of meetings budgets not being approved until companies’
latest financial data is available. This dynamic is putting even more pressure
on already reduced lead times and can negatively impact hotel negotiations,
potentially leading to higher costs.

4) Increasing Engagement Via Social Media – Meeting planners are responding to
the expectations of today’s meeting attendees by employing social media to
increase the value of events throughout their lifecycle. Leading up to events,
planners are using social media to connect with attendees and to connect
attendees to one another so they can maximize their time at an event. During
events, social media is being used to drive even deeper connections and more
immersive education sessions, presentation Q&A and other activities. After
events, social media is also being used to extend event communities and foster
connections made during events.

This year, the Forecast is accompanied by three special sections that explore
key tactics meeting planners are using to reduce costs and improve program
effectiveness, including meetings payments, electronic requests for proposals,
and virtual meetings.

To request a complimentary copy of the Forecast, please visit the American
Express Meetings & Events Resource Center at
www.americanexpress.com/meetingsandevents.

About the American Express Meetings & Events Forecast

The Forecast identifies key meetings activities and trends for 2013 on a
global and regional basis, to help meeting professionals and executives
strategically direct and make effective use of their meeting investment.
Numerous sources were used to develop the Forecast including proprietary
American Express data sources, licensed third-party data and industry
information, data from the American Express Global Business Travel Forecast
2013 and interviews with industry leaders. Information and data was gathered
from actual and planned meetings activity of American Express Meetings &
Events globally and Maxvantage clients in North America. Surveys of meeting
professionals were conducted to gather trends across North America, Europe
(France, BeNeLux, Germany, Nordic, Spain and United Kingdom), Asia Pacific and
Central/South America. A survey of leading suppliers and follow-up interviews
were also used to inform the finding in the Forecast.

About American Express Meetings and Events

American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global
Business Travel, offers longstanding experience, expertise and leading
capabilities spanning program implementation to budget optimization to deliver
powerful meetings and events experiences for clients. The team is comprised of
more than 1400 employees world-wide focused on meetings and events sourcing,
planning, contract negotiations, budgeting, expense management, reporting and
benchmarking, combined with strategic counsel and integration of leading
technology. This end-to-end approach focuses on creating visibility, driving
savings and enabling effective meeting experiences.

With more than 40 years in the industry and an in-market presence in over 50
countries, American Express Meetings & Events is uniquely positioned to manage
meetings and events locally, regionally, internationally and across the globe.
American Express Meetings & Events works with market leaders to enhance its
offering to clients. To learn more about the services offered by American
Express Meetings & Events, visit
https://businesstravel.americanexpress.com/meetingsandevents.

About American Express Global Business Travel

Positioned at the intersection of commerce and travel, American Express Global
Business Travel offers its customers a comprehensive network, dependability,
and deep insights to help move people and businesses forward.American Express
Global Business Travel provides leading travel solutions, integrated
consulting services, proprietary research, and end-to-end meetings and events
capabilities. These innovative offerings enable clients to optimize the return
on their travel and meetings investments. Learn more at
www.americanexpress.com/businesstravel.

American Express Global Business Travel is part of one of the world’s largest
travel agency networks with locations in over 140 countries worldwide. Total
travel sales volume processed in 2011 was $29.3 billion, including
consolidated volume and non-consolidated volume processed through joint
ventures and its partner network.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access
to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business
success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on
facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress,
linkedin.com/companies/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and
youtube.com/americanexpress.

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit
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