The state of the industry: insights from our survey

Grass Roots' David Taylor speaking at The Meetings Show 2017 about the Meetings Industry Report.

As part of the extensive research carried out for the Grass Roots Meetings Industry Report, we surveyed over 1,000 people from corporates, agencies and suppliers in Europe and the US. Having presented the findings at The Meetings Show on Thursday 15th June, I wanted to share some additional insight here. You can find the original slide deck on my LinkedIn profile.

SMM comes of age

65% of European companies and 84% of US companies now either have a strategic meetings management programme in place or plan to adopt one in the next 12 months. However only 65% of those responding said they are benchmarking rates so are they really operating an effective SMM programme? 36% of those replying now have a consolidated travel and internal and external events programme although 22% would never use one supplier to provide these services.

Data security still not taken seriously

Data security means keeping your company data safe. Nearly half of those responding said that their data is potentially unsafe and could therefore be in breach of existing The Data Protection Act. Then there’s the upcoming EU General Date Protection Regulation, where from June 2018, businesses in breach could be fined 4% of global turnover or £17 million, whichever is larger - regardless of whether it is caused by a cyber-attack or from human error. Large institutions such as Wonga, Three and Sports Direct have all had their databases hacked in the last year. One would presume they had some form of security so if you have none you’re a sitting duck. Deal with it now!

Event apps on the rise

92% of US meetings planners now use event apps whereas only 50% of organisers in Europe currently use them. The US leads in technology so expect Europeans usage to catch up over the next couple of years. Event apps are increasingly affordable and the platforms behind them ever more sophisticated which is why they are now an essential part of meetings and events. The right apps allow better delegate communication and data collection and ROI so why wouldn’t you use them?

Commission still an agent’s bread and butter

Commission makes up 80% of European sourcing agents income. Even when agents operate on management or transaction fees it is usually funded by the commission generated. It seems that despite an ongoing argument (largely from venues) for the movement to net rates agents, and more importantly corporates, prefer the commission model and it shows no sign of disappearing in the mid-term.

Europeans value meetings more than the US

Only 60% of US meetings planners felt meetings and events had a very positive impact on company profitability whereas 78% of their European counterparts said meetings and events had a very positive impact. 72% of Europeans saw meetings and events as having a very positive effect on sales but only 60% of American meetings planners agreed. 64% of European meeting planners said that meetings and events were very important for talent retention but only 40% of U.S. respondents agreed with this statement. Based on our survey we can conclude Europeans are much more positive about the benefits of meetings and events than Americans.


To find out more about the Meetings Industry Report, visit


About the author

David Taylor

David Taylor is managing director of Grass Roots Meetings & Events – specialists in strategic meetings management and delegate management. An industry figurehead with over 25 years’ experience, starting at Hotel Brokers International (HBI), he became sales director as they joined the Grass Roots Group. After a period of integrating GRG services with WPP in 2015 he was made managing director of the M&E division in 2016.


Grass Roots operate from key locations in London, New York, Dusseldorf, Zurich and Singapore.

To find out more about how to improve the performance of your meetings and events, contact us for an exploratory conversation.