Economic Impact on Hotel and Airline Industry Significant

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October and November are the most popular months for trade associations and other non-profit organizations to hold meetings, according to Meetings & Conventions (M&C) magazine’s “2004 Meetings Market Report.” October and November months combine to bring in nearly $8 billion in revenue to the hotel, convention airline and food/beverage industries. To manage this spike in business during the fourth quarter, many associations are bringing on outside association meeting professionals.

October and November are the most popular months for trade associations and other non-profit organizations to hold meetings, according to Meetings & Conventions (M&C) magazine’s “2004 Meetings Market Report.” October and November months combine to bring in nearly $8 billion in revenue to the hotel, convention airline and food/beverage industries. To manage this spike in business during the fourth quarter, many associations are bringing on outside meeting professionals.

“This is a busy time of the year for us, as our annual meeting is always in late October. With this meeting, along with the other 11 meetings we conduct a year, it’s a challenge to keep up with it all, even with volunteered time from our board members. So, several years ago we brought in an association management company (AMC) to manage the annual conference, from start to finish. Now the AMC assists with our board meeting logistics, educational seminars and other meetings,” said Joe Cattaneo, president of the Glass Packaging Institute.

The M&C Report (http://www.meetings-conventions.com) noted that the planning timeframe is up 5 percent, with start to finish now averaging two years per event. Coupled with an average of 14 meetings a year for a typical association, association staff resources can be stretched thin, as almost half (48 percent) do not have full time staff devoted to meeting planning, according to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Meeting planning companies and association management companies are the professional service firms most associations are retaining to ease their meetings workload.

“Since AMCs already provide a wide range of association services, ranging from accounting to strategic planning, they are well-positioned to offer association clients a specialized service such as meeting planning,” said Dee Ann Walker, chair of the AMCinstitute. Association management companies also bring valuable relationships to the table with hotels, airlines and other suppliers to the meetings industry.

AMCs alone book over $1 billion annually in hotel and convention services, according to a study conducted by the AMCinstitute (http://www.AMCinstitute.org). With the increased volume of hotel rooms follows an increase in airline traffic, as ASAE has noted that 20 percent of the airline industry revenues are generated by meetings and conventions.

From a budgetary standpoint, hotels and food/beverage services represent the top spend category, at 61 percent of total meeting budgets for associations.

ASAE confirmed the impact of associations on the hospitality industry, with data showing that over one-third of hotel revenue comes from conventions, expos, meetings and incentive travel. The emphasis on meetings management has a distinct financial advantage to associations as well. According to Convene magazine’s 12th Annual Meetings Market Survey, on average, 34 percent of an association’s revenue comes from conventions, meetings and exhibits.

Walker noted, “The increased demand in the meeting arena, along with the desire of associations to make the most efficient use of human resources, has helped the AMC industry grow 33 percent in the last eight years. Associations see AMCs as ready-made resources to manage an increasingly aggressive lineup of conventions, board meetings, training and educational seminars and professional/technical meetings.”

The trend is expected to continue, since 94 percent of meeting planners surveyed in the report noted that they plan to have the same or larger budgets in the coming year. With non-profit organizations (including trade associations and professional societies) representing 9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the economic impact of these budgets will be felt across the business environment.

MEETINGS AT-A-GLANCE

Source: Meetings & Conventions magazine’s 2004 Meetings Market Report)

Top Meetings Months for associations:

The 4th Quarter represents the most popular timeframe for meetings, with October and November alone at 28 percent of meetings.

Volume and Dollars Trends:

The number of meetings is up 12% over the last two years.

Corporations and associations (through in house staff or external firms such as association management companies and independent meeting planners):

Spent over $28 billion on these meetings.

Corporations and associations almost split the distribution of this $28 billion, with corporate meetings accounting for 52% and associations 48%.

Held over 1 million meetings combined in 2003.

For the most part did not see a decrease in their budgets. Over 80 percent worked budgets that equaled or exceeded 2001 spend levels.

Looking ahead: 94 percent of association meeting planners forecast same or increased budgets as of year-end 2004.

Meeting planners (including in-house, independent meeting planners and association management companies) manage 14 to 17 meetings a year on average.

Association Management Companies alone plan an average of 34 meetings per AMC.

Top Spend Category:

56% of the corporate meeting budget was spent on Hotels and Food & Beverage while associations delegated 61% of their budgets to this area.

More Facts About Meeting Planners and Association Management Companies:

1,945,144 room nights at hotels are booked annually by Association Management Companies (Source: http://www.AMCinstitute.org)

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