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March 2013

Convene's 22nd Annual Meetings Market Survey

By Michelle Russell, Editor in Chief
199 attendees, and three meetings with between 200 and 250 attendees.

TYPES In 2012, respondents held an average of approximately eight committee meetings, seven training meetings, five seminars, three board meetings, and eight other types of meetings.

LOCATIONS Respondents held an average of nine meetings at downtown hotels (three each at airport hotels, suburban hotels, and resorts); two at conference centers; and two at other types of facilities.

BOOKING WINDOW Two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) reported that they were booking their small meetings more than six months out. Fourteen percent were booking 0 to 3 months out; 22 percent were booking 4 to 6 months out; 38 percent were booking 7 to 12 months out; 24 percent were booking 1 to 2 years out; and 3 percent were booking more than 2 years out.

2012 MEETINGS VS . 2011 MEETINGS

13% Increased

6% Decreased

81% No change

Thirteen percent (compared to 17 percent in last year's survey) reported that they held more small meetings in 2012 than 2011. Eighty-one percent reported that their small meetings’ count held steady.

Average change: +1.5 percent compared to +3.3 percent in 2011 survey

PROJECTED 2013 MEETINGS VS. 2012 MEETINGS

3% Expect to decrease

92% Expect to remain the same

5% Expect to increase

Five percent (compared to 12 percent in last year's survey) expected to hold more small meetings in 2013. Only 3 percent (compared to 6 percent last year) expected to hold fewer small meetings in 2013 than 2012, and the overwhelming majority of respondents (92 percent compared to 82 percent last year) expected to hold the same number of small meetings this year as last year.

Average change: +0.6 percent compared to +1.9 percent in 2011 survey

INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS AND ATTENDEES

MEETING ATTENDEES

39% Less than 2%

18% 2% - 5%

16% 6% - 10%

9% 11% - 15%

7% 16% - 25%

Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported that more than 10 percent of the registered attendees at their largest event in 2012 were international. On average, nearly 8 percent of the registered attendees at respondents’ largest event were international.

2012 INTERNATIONAL ATTENDEES VS. 2011 INTERNATIONAL ATTENDEES

15% Increased

3% Decreased

82% No change

Fifteen percent (up from 14 percent in last year's survey) reported that the number of international attendees at their largest 2012 meeting increased, while 82 percent reported no change.

Average change: +1 percent compared to +0.5 percent in 2011 survey

PROJECTED 2013 INTERNATIONAL ATTENDEES VS. 2012 INTERNATIONAL ATTENDEES

15% Expect to increase

3% Expect to decrease

82% Expect to remain the same

Fifteen percent (down from 17 percent in last year's survey) of respondents expected the number of international attendees at their largest 2013 meeting to increase, while 82 percent expected no change.

Average change: +0.3 percent compared to +1.1 percent in 2011 survey

FUTURE INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS

Thirty-nine percent of respondents (about the same as last year's survey) reported that they will be holding meetings outside the United States in the future. Of those who hold meetings in international destinations, a third of respondents (33 percent) reported that their attendees participate in pre- and/or post-trips abroad.

POTENTIAL INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

International destinations that respondents were most likely to consider are:

70% Canada

38%   Asia

36%   Western Europe

34%   United Kingdom

28%   Mexico

27%   Caribbean & Bermuda

25%   South America

25%   Eastern Europe

21%   Australia/Pacific Rim

13%   Africa

Characteristics of the Sample

Each year, meeting planners who are members of PCMA along with an additional group of Convene meeting-planner subscribers receive an extensive survey, which requests proprietary information and budget projections for their organizations. After answering an initial question on their professional role, respondents follow one of three survey routes: one for association meeting professionals and executives, another for independent meeting professionals, or a third for corporate meeting professionals. While each response path has several unique questions, many questions address the same area but are worded differently to reflect the respondent's particular role in the meetings industry.

The data that follows were compiled from approximately 452 usable responses that were submitted. Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents were PCMA members. Nearly half (49 percent) worked for an association or nonprofit organization; 19 percent worked for a corporation; 18 percent were independent or self-employed; 6 percent worked for association management firms; and 2 percent were employed by the government.

The departments that respondents reported to depended, of course, on their category and employer. With nearly half of respondents working for associations, they were most likely (42 percent) to report to the meetings and events department. Twelve percent reported to the marketing department, and nearly half reported to entities or departments other than meetings, marketing, finance, travel, procurement, or sales.

Most respondents held the position of director (39 percent), followed by manager (37 percent). Six percent each were CEOs or vice presidents. Not surprisingly, given those titles, this year's survey-takers were once again an experienced group, with an average of 15.3 years of work experience in the meetings field. Eighty percent of respondents had at least 10 — and more than a third had 20-plus — years of meeting-management experience.

Given respondents’ tenure, these additional demographics should not be a surprise: The average age was 47.5, and more than half were college graduates — with 13 percent having earned post-graduate degrees. Likewise, as industry insiders would surmise, a large majority of our respondents — 88 percent — were female.

Convene's Meetings Market Survey was prepared for PCMA by Lewis Copulsky, principal, Lewis&Clark. All material © 2013 by PCMA. Survey analysis by Convene Editor in Chief Michelle Russell.

Getting the Job Done

Site Selection

When it comes to tools for choosing meeting sites, site visits were ranked first by 44 percent of respondents. An equal number (20 percent) of planners said that online searches and one-on-one sales interactions were their preferred site-selection approach, and only 4 percent ranked fam trips as their first choice.

Booking Window

Two-fifths of respondents (42 percent) reported that they were booking large meetings more than three years in advance; 21 percent were booking two to three years ahead; 26 percent were booking only one to two years out; and 12 percent were booking their large meetings in under one year. The average booking window is 2.4 years.

Technology

Not surprisingly, the technology that respondents continue to seek most for their meetings is high-speed, wired, and/or wireless Internet access. In terms of social media, using a scale of “1” for “most important” to “4” for “least important,” 73 percent of respondents rated Facebook either “1” or “2” when it came to marketing their meetings and engaging attendees (versus 57 percent in last year's survey). Sixty-five percent said Twitter is their No. 1 or No. 2 choice (versus 51 percent in last year's survey), and LinkedIn was chosen first or second by 36 percent (the same as last year).

Virtual Meetings

Close to one-third of respondents (32 percent compared to 28 percent in last year's survey) reported that their use of virtual meetings and events increased in the past year, while 61 percent reported it remained the same, and 7 percent (down from 10 percent in last year's survey) reported that it decreased. On average, respondents’ use of virtual meetings and events went up nearly 2 percent.

Golf

A majority (65 percent) of respondents indicated that none

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