Meetings market shows 2018 growth, though challenges remain


Convene magazine releases results of 28th Meetings Market Survey

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 percent in 2018.

Meetings Market Survey results, based on responses from more than 500 participants, were released today 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 percent 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 percent — noted it was more difficult than in 2017. That was 30 percent 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 percent of respondents reported that the number of international attendees at their meetings increased. Seventy-five percent reported no change.
  • Twenty-two percent reported net profit from conventions and meetings of at least $1 million. Nearly 20 percent reported a net loss or broke even.
  • Budgets topped the list of job challenges with 63 percent reporting they have been asked to cut back on food and beverage spending.

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


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PCMA believes that business events can economically and socially transform communities, enterprises and individuals. As the world’s largest platform for business events strategists and their business partners, PCMA’s success is driven by a commitment to providing provocative executive level education, face-to-face networking and business intelligence to its global audience of 7,000 professionals and students.

Through its Ascent leadership initiative to promote inclusion and diversity across the business events industry and beyond, PCMA seeks to empower those challenged by gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or disabilities to find success.

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