Meetings market shows 2018 growth, though challenges remain

Meetings market shows 2018 growth, though challenges remain

Meeting attendance continued to increase in 2018 as the business events industry experienced yet another year of consecutive growth.


Meeting professionals who participated in Convene magazine’s 28th Meetings Market Survey, considered a leading barometer of the business events industry, reported attendance at their largest meeting grew by five per cent in 2018.

Meetings Market Survey results, based on responses from more than 500 participants, were released yesterday by PCMA's Convene.

Most survey participants 'saw continued stability and growth for their events,' said Convene editor in chief Michelle Russell. In a global economic climate marked by mixed messages, '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,' Russell said.

Meeting budgets in 2018 also grew on average by two per cent 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 per cent — noted it was more difficult than in 2017. That was 30 per cent 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 per cent of respondents reported that the number of international attendees at their meetings increased. Seventy-five per cent reported no change.
  • Twenty-two per cent reported net profit from conventions and meetings of at least US$1 million. Nearly 20 per cent reported a net loss or broke even.
  • Budgets topped the list of job challenges with 63 per cent reporting they have been asked to cut back on food and beverage spending.

 Convene magazine has published its annual meetings market survey results since 1991. Responses are collected from association, corporate and independent meeting planners.