Meeting attendance continued to increase in 2018 as the business events industry experienced another year of consecutive growth, according to US-based Convene magazine’s 28th Meetings Market Survey.
Meeting professionals responding to the survey, reported attendance at their largest meetings grew 5% in 2018.
Most survey participants reported continued stability and growth for their events, according to Convene, with only a few mentioning concerns over the economy.
Meeting budgets in 2018 also grew on average 2% and one-third of respondents said they expected to plan more meetings in 2019.
Obtaining visas in 2018 continued to be a challenge to potential business events participants. An overwhelming majority — 88% — noted it was more difficult than in 2017. That was 30% higher than what meeting planners reported in 2016.
Other key findings in the 28th Meetings Market Survey:
- In spite of the difficulty in obtaining visas for potential registrants, 12% of respondents reported that the number of international attendees at their meetings increased. Three-quarters reported no change.
- 22% reported net profit from conventions and meetings of at least US$1m. Nearly 20% reported a net loss or broke even.
- Budgets topped the list of job challenges with 63% reporting they have been asked to cut back on food and beverage spending.
Convene has published its annual meetings market survey results since 1991. Responses are collected from association, corporate and independent meeting planners and this year’s Meetings Market Survey results were based on 500 responses.