Arik Staropolsky

Forecast 2022: Financing, Planning and Adaptation

By Jorge J. J. Martínez 


To continue clarifying what awaits the Latin American and worldwide MICE industry in 2022, today’s guest is Arik Staropolsky, founder and general director of STA Consultores. Staropolsky is a recognized authority and consultant for tourism and MICE industries.

Based on Staropolsky’s studies of the industry’s economic factors, the website Portal Estratégico de Información de la Industria de Reuniones en América Latina (PEiiR) was born. The site is updated every two months.

According to the site’s latest report (reporte del PEiiR), the last two periods (May-June and July August 2021) demonstrate positive trends of 3.6 and 3.8 percent, respectively, in the reactivation of Latin American tourism, as opposed to the previous eight periods, which had negative growth.

Meeting planners experience critical financial situation

“Meeting planners face the following challenges: restoring the demand for in-person events, obtaining funding after the depletion of economic reserves, and continuing training for hybrid and virtual events,” stated Arik Staropolsky.

Organizers are experiencing late payment of invoices coupled with a lack of business due to the pandemic and a resulting loss of income. In order for MICE professionals to get back on track, Staropolsky suggests seeking low-interest loans, offering financing, or, most effectively, modifying unfavorable payment policies.

Meetings tourism vs meetings industry

“The challenge of destinations in general will be how to compensate for all those people who previously went to in-person meetings and now connect virtually. More than ever we need to understand the difference between meetings tourism and the meetings industry,” explained the consultant.

Meetings tourism is a subset of the meetings industry, including touristic values such as hotels, DMCs, transportation, tours, and so on. In addition to these concepts, the meetings industry itself includes non-touristic support services such as rental of rooms or convention centers, audiovisual and technology assistance, and other services.

The hypothesis is that expenditures for meetings tourism will diminish more than those of the rest of the MICE industry. Studies have previously shown these ratios to be approximately 50-50.

Staropolsky believes that in 2022 the MICE industry will not generate the income produced in 2019, and advises professionals to take a breath and plan calmly to come up with the most palatable solutions.

Trends for 2022 meetings and their relationship with technology

From Arik’s perspective, the meetings world inhabits different realities. For conventions, virtual meetings fit like a glove because they can increase their audience, reduce costs and even make it possible to acquire better speakers.

Fairs and exhibitions are of necessity face to face; therefore a virtual presence may allow participation of those who don’t currently want to attend, but want to see if a future event is of interest. In the case of incentive events, an in-person presence is set in stone.

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