International Association of Convention Centers’ (AIPC) annual Performance and Prospects Survey for 2015 has again confirmed that growth in center business is outpacing that of the overall global economy.
AIPC member centers documented revenue increases for 2014 that are more than two percentage points higher than worldwide GDP as tracked by the IMF, lending further strength to the idea that the industry is actually helping drive economic growth instead of simply responding to recovery.
The survey has been tracking industry performance and confidence levels for six years, making it one of the most extensive bodies of center-related information in the industry. It has now evolved to a point where it supports regional comparisons as well as those relating to client expectations for the same time periods, making it a powerful vehicle for center planning and performance benchmarking.
Key findings included:
- There was strong (5.8 percent) revenue growth amongst worldwide in 2014 compared to 3.1 percent in 2013;
- Europe experienced its strongest increase in revenue growth with a 7.7 percent increase vs. 2.8 percent in 2013;
- Last year also saw the strongest attendance growth since 2011, with a world-wide average of 4.5 percent;
- At the same time, major capital investment projects are slowing, with 63 percent of members saying they had some type of major new development or expansion project underway or in planning stages vs. 71 percent the previous year. However, facility renovation projects are increasing;
- Africa continues to be the fastest growing region of the world, with African center members expanding gross revenues by over 15 percent in 2014;
- Confidence is slightly lower, with a total of 74 percent of members around the world considering the strength of the economic growth in their region to be moderate or strong, down from 79 percent of members in 2014. Asian members continue to anticipate the strongest economic relative to other regions.
The survey also explored what AIPC member centers regarded as the greatest threats to both continuing economic growth in their respective regions as well as to their own business. The top risks to sustained economic recovery were considered to be:
- Overall economic weakness (58 percent of members)
- Government policies, including reduced spending (47 percent of members)
In terms of ongoing risks specific to their center’s business, centers identified:
- Growing competition from other centers / regions: 72 percent
- Hotel availability and pricing: 43 percent
In addition to tracking performance information, a special section of the survey took a close look at a variety of elements in the center / DMO interface, including roles, responsibilities, reporting relationships and mechanisms for managing performance in one of the most frequently discussed aspects of the community interface.
“Our Annual Survey continues to be one of the most valuable means we have for tracking both actual and anticipated performance, and it has now been fine-tuned to a point where it enables both multi-year and regional comparisons,” said Geoff Donaghy, president, AIPC. “This kind of information is enabling members to plan and demonstrate performance more effectively than ever before in a time when rapidly changing conditions make this a necessity.”
AIPC represents a global network of over 175 leading centers in 57 countries with the active involvement of more than 900 management-level professionals worldwide. It is committed to encouraging and recognizing excellence in convention center management, based on the diverse experience and expertise of its international representation, and maintains a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs to achieve this. AIPC also celebrates and promotes the essential role of the international meetings industry in supporting economic, academic and professional development and enhancing global relations amongst highly diverse business and cultural interests.
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