To the Point

Where We’re Going as an Industry

Convene’s Meetings Industry Forecast offers all the information you need — in one place and at one time.

Information. There’s no shortage of it. Our social-media feeds and email inboxes are overflowing. A simple Google search can yield thousands of facts and opinions. But who has the energy 

to sort through every last survey result on the state of the meetings industry?

Actually, the dedicated and talented staff of Convene do. Every November, they assemble a Meetings Industry Forecast with some of the most telling data on where we’re at and where we’re going. They also seek out expert opinions from specific sectors, so you get a comprehensive assessment of where our industry is headed — all in one place and all at one time.

I encourage you to review all of the findings, but here are a few that stood out to me:

EXHIBITIONSThe CEIR Index now shows 24 continuous quarters of positive growth for the North American exhibition industry — which has even outperformed GDP for the past six quarters. Around the world, emerging markets in Mexico, Indonesia, and the Persian Gulf region are experiencing significant growth. And nontraditional event venues are growing in popularity, as Millennials value unique experiences, corporate planners look for spaces that match their company’s branding, and shorter conferences are on the upswing.

TECHNOLOGYIt’s no surprise that social media and online sharing services are on the rise. But what’s striking is by how much. There are now 2.3 billion active social-media users in the world, with 1 million new users being added each day. Seventy-two percent of Americans have now used some type of shared or on-demand online service. How is it, then, according to one survey, that 52 percent of event strategists have never used apps for their programs?

TRAVELYou’ll also find a strong increase in the nontraditional here. For the first time (since Uber was founded in 2009), business travelers expensed more Uber rides in total dollars compared with car rentals or taxis. Likewise, Airbnb reported an 89-percent revenue increase between July 2015 and July 2016. And in 2015, more travelers booked on their mobile devices than ever before. Based on these numbers, it seems what’s considered “alternative” today soon may be part of the status quo.

LODGINGIn 2017, hotel prices are expected to decline in the Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa. In the United States, occupancy is predicted to decline slightly, but not at properties with facilities for mid-size and large meetings. And ADR is expected to continue to increase (by 3.1 percent), as many hotels try to reinvent themselves by adding authentic experiences, local flavor, and wellness activities.


Let’s Discuss
Hungry for more on what’s new and what’s next in the meetings industry? Eager to hash out what it all means? Make your plans now to join industry leaders and fellow go-getters at PCMA Convening Leaders 2017. We’ll be gathering in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 8–11. You’ll benefit from the insights of your peers, industry experts, and leading change agents, not to mention unique learning experiences that will help you develop winning business strategies. Get a sneak peek of featured speaker Dan Goods on p. 79, and visit for more information.

Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton is president and CEO of PCMA.