International association conferences: A diminishing market for independent planners ?

Research findings with real clout are the ones that are conducted from a wide base of respondents. The UIA’s recent survey is just such an authentic source of serious trends. The Union of International Meetings brags over 800 individual members representing a wide array of association meetings.

The UIA Yearbook lists around 66,000 non-government and intergovernmental associations from 300 countries that have international membership. Hence any results from this source must surely hold major relevance going forward. Their latest survey findings to specific questions are:

Who does the planning?

Over 50% are organised by their members
20% by association personnel
15% by a local PCO in the host country

Who makes the site selection decision?

There is no predominant theme when it comes to who is doing the site selection. About 38% of respondents said the decision is made by meeting committees or councils, while 29% said the decision rests with the association executive. Roughly 26% indicated that site selection is done by a general assembly.

Do they practice green meetings?
55 %don’t incorporate green measures into their meetings while 35% do and 10% didn’t know

Where do most hold their conferences and why?

Most have their annual conference on home soil or close by.
54% said their biggest concern about the global economy is reduced attendance, while 53% said lack of funding via reduced numbers of sponsors or exhibitors.

Approximately 42% said travel-related issues, such as visa problems, budget cuts, or increasing travel costs. Also, 32% cite transportation costs as a concern.

What is the average attendance?

Nearly three-quarters of associations polled said their largest meeting attracts fewer than 500 delegates (not including accompanying guests). About 56 percent reported fewer than 250 delegates. Approximately 10 percent draw between 500 and 1,000, and around 14% attract over 1,000.

The international association conference market certainly appears to be a limited or ever-reducing market for the independent planner. Whereas corporate planning increases each year




Helen Brewer

About Helen Brewer

Director of the MICE Academy and co-owns Conpromark Consultants

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