PCMA Convene magazine this month released the results of its 24th annual Meetings Market Survey, and those results are mixed.
The top challenge facing planners is still a lack of understanding about what they do, the scope of the work required of them and a lack of respect from other departments in their companies. This is according to 500-plus association, independent and corporate planners who completed the survey late last year.
Nearly half the respondents saw attendance grow at 2014 flagship events; 38 percent expect more growth this year. About 32 percent saw more exhibitors at their main 2014 conventions; nearly 30 percent expect more growth this year, event though the space they rent continues to shrink. The average exhibition footprint decreased from 108,000 square feet in 2013 to less than 104,000 square feet in 2014.
The improving economy showed its downside. The seller’s market makes it difficult to negotiate rates and dates, respondents said.
The results aren’t surprising. According to Michelle Russell, Convene editor in chief, the numbers continue a trend in the past few years of incremental growth and recovery from the Recession.
Some practices necessary in leaner times have become a force of habit at many organizations, Russell said. She cited respondents who said management continues to ask them to cut back on meeting expenses, especially in audiovisual and F&B areas.
Other results: Respondents expect technology to continue driving the industry and budgets remain tight. Here’s a look at some of the numbers:
- 2014 convention/meeting budgets rose 3.1 percent over 2013 budgets.
- 2014 attendance rose 4.7 percent over 2013.
- 2015 attendance is projected to outpace 2014 attendance by 3 percent.
- The number of 2014 exhibitors rose 2.3 percent over 2013.
- The number of 2015 exhibitors is projected to top 2014 by 1.1 percent.
- 31 percent of respondents expect to plan more meetings this year (compared to 22 percent in 2013).
- Exhibit space continues to decline, with about 5,000 less square footage reported in 2014 over 2013.
- Booking windows are shrinking. Larger meetings were down to 2.3 years in 2014 (versus 2.6 years in 2013). Smaller meetings were down to nine months (from 11 months in 2013).
To dig even further into survey results, go HERE.