OCT 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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²ConventionSouth ² O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 12 year, with the economy growing at 3 percent and unemployment levels reaching record lows. The meetings industry has also rebounded, according to research conducted by Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Events Industry Council, and supported by the Meet- ings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC), an industry-wide organization which showcases the value of meetings to people, businesses and communities. Published in February, the Oxford Economics data showed that spending on meetings expanded 23 percent between 2009 and 2016, primarily due to increases in the number of meeting participants. "There's been a critical need for information TXDQWLI\LQJWKHVLJQL¿FDQFHRIIDFHWRIDFH meetings and business events to the U.S. economy," said Susan Robertson, executive vice president of the American Society of Association Executives and chair of the Events Industry Council. "Hosting an event, con- vention or trade show brings new revenue to industries across the country. So many people and companies beyond the scope of the events LQGXVWU\LWVHOIEHQH¿WIURPLWVUHDFK´ Attendance Levels Remain Strong 7KH¿QGLQJVRIConventionSouth's 2018 survey show that attendance levels remained strong this year, with 45 percent of respondents reporting that events they plan draw between 101 and 500 attendees, 17 percent said that their events average between 501 and 1,000 attendees and another 17 percent plan events with more than 1,000 participants. Small meetings remain an important industry niche, however, as 21 percent of survey respondents said their meetings involve fewer than 100 attendees. When comparing average meeting attendance rates in 2018 to those in 2017, a majority of this year's survey respondents (46 percent) said that they saw a slight increase in attendance this year, while 31 percent said attendance levels stayed about the same. Additionally, 10 percent said attendance levels had increased greatly last year. However, some meeting plan- ners (10 percent) experienced a slight decrease in average attendance levels during 2018 and 3 percent reported a large drop in the number of meeting attendees at their events. Travel And Accommodations A majority of planners who responded to this year's survey (45 percent) indicated that most of WKHLUDWWHQGHHVÀ\WRPHHWLQJVZKLOHSHUFHQW said that most of their attendees drive to meet- ings. Additionally, a majority of respondents (48 percent) plan events that draw attendees from all over the United States, while 24 percent plan regional meetings and 17 percent plan statewide gatherings. Only seven percent of the respondents said their meetings draw worldwide participation. The high level of air travel and national attendance likely contribute to the survey's ¿QGLQJWKDWPRVWRIWKHVHSODQQHUVSHUFHQW KROGWKHLUHYHQWVLQ¿UVWWLHUGHVWLQDWLRQVD substantial number of planners (35 percent) use second-tier destinations and 10 percent hold events in third-tier locations. (There are no of- ¿FLDOGH¿QLWLRQVRI¿UVWVHFRQGDQGWKLUGWLHU GHVWLQDWLRQV+RZHYHU¿UVWWLHUGHVWLQDWLRQVDUH generally understood to be metropolitan hubs that have a major airport with easy national and international access, strong public infrastructure, such as rail, public transportation and taxis, Uber or Lyft services; a convention center with at least 500,000 square feet of exhibit space; at least 10,000 committable sleeping rooms in a range of price levels; and a large variety of dining and entertainment options. Second-tier cities typically offer lower priced -- but not necessarily lesser quality -- accommodations, have smaller populations, smaller convention facilities and regional airports. Third-tier cities ANNUAL STATE OF THE INDUSTRY REPORT Fewer than 10 Meetings 11-20 Meetings 21-50 Meetings # of Meetings Planned In 2018, I planned/my organization planned... 50% 46% 4% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Percentage of Meeting Planners 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Percentage of Meeting Planners Increased Slightly Increased Greatly Decreased Slightly Decreased Greatly Stayed About The Same Comparison of # of Meetings Planned From 2017 to 2018, the number of meetings I plan/my organization plans has... 35% 7% 45% 10% 3%

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