PCMA survey reveals 2018 growth with further uptick expected

The latest Meetings Market Survey, produced by PCMA, the Professional Convention Management Association, has revealed a growth in meeting attendance with a further rise expected next year.

Convene magazine’s 28th Meetings Market Survey quizzed more than 500 participants that were equally international (meaning the organisation had offices in other parts of the world) and US-based.

The Meetings Market Survey results, released by PCMA’s Convene, showed that the business events industry experienced yet another year of consecutive growth.

Editor in chief of Convene Michelle Russell said most survey participants “saw continued stability and growth for their events”.

She said: “There were no strong signals from event professionals who responded to this year’s survey that they anticipated an economic downturn, and only a few mentioned concerns about the economy going south.

“In fact, most saw continued stability and growth for their events — and many also blamed the strong economy — which in turn creates a seller’s market — for making their job more challenging.”

Considered a reliable barometer of the business events industry, the survey found that attendance for 2018 was up 5 per cent compared to 3.6 per cent in 2017.

In 2019 attendance is expected to rise 4.4 per cent compared to 3.2 per cent in the 2017 survey, showing more confidence in the market this year.

The data revealed that 33 per cent of respondents expected to plan more meetings in 2019 with only 4 per cent expecting to plan fewer meetings.

Respondents, collected from association, corporate and independent meeting planners, revealed meeting budgets also grew on average by 2 per cent last year compared to minus 1 per cent in 2017.

The data found that despite the good news most event organisers still are being asked to cut back on meeting expenses, with the majority (63 per cent) asked to focus on reducing Food and Beverageexpenses, followed by audio visual costs (47 per cent).

Total exhibition space remained relatively the same as in last year’s survey with respondents reporting that, on average, their largest exposition had approximately 100,700 net sqft vs. 100,000 net sqft in the 2017 survey.

The figures showed that average booking window for large meetings is 2.3 years, approximately the same as in the 2017 survey; for small meetings, it’s 10 months, the same as in the 2017 survey.