This month, PCMA Convene magazine published the results of its 24th annual Meetings Market Survey. Long considered a barometer of the meetings industry, the survey this year showed that key indicators of the industry’s health — attendance, budgets, exhibitors, and revenues — are positive.
Of the 500-plus association, independent, and corporate planners who completed the latest Meetings Market Survey in late 2014, nearly half experienced an increase in attendance at their 2014 flagship event and 38 per cent expected their attendance to grow in 2015. Thirty-two per cent said they had more exhibitors at their main 2014 convention and nearly 30 per cent expected exhibitor growth to continue this year, despite the fact that the space these exhibitors rent out continues to shrink. The average exhibition footprint decreased from 108,000 square feet in 2013 to less than 104,000 square feet in 2014.
While there’s plenty to celebrate during a healthy industry, an improved economy brings its own challenges. Meeting professional respondents said the seller’s market makes it difficult to negotiate rates and dates.
“On most fronts, our latest survey results reflect a trend over the last few years of incremental growth and recovery from the recession,” said Convene Editor in Chief Michelle Russell, who has analyzed the results of the annual Meetings Market Survey for the past 12 years. “Yet some of the practices necessary in leaner times have become a force of habit at many organizations. Respondents say they continue to be asked by management to cut back on meeting expenses such as AV and F&B — in an environment in which they already have a weaker negotiating position with industry partners.”