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INCON unveils survey results for global association conference industry

INCONINCON has unveiled findings of its fourth annual survey of the global association conference market at the IMEX trade expo in Frankfurt.

While the overall business outlook is flat at best, there is a definite drop in positive sentiment when compared with the 2010 and 2011 survey findings. Budgeting is identified as the number one trend impacting the association sector as conference budgets continue to be scrutinized and planners seek best value in negotiating the highest level of event income. Encouragingly, suppliers are reacting effectively to market pressures on pricing to help INCON partners confirm business.

“It is interesting to see that trends identified in our surveys of previous years are being realized,” said Inge Hanser, co-chair, INCON.

“The strong desire to move up the supply chain, central to the 2010 survey, is taking shape with a robust focus on Consulting/Strategic Meeting Management Services both as an ongoing trend and also as the most popular description of the present value proposition of our partner companies,” said Roslyn McLeod, fellow co-chair.

The key findings from the Fourth Annual INCON Survey of the Global Association Conference Market 2012 are as follows:

  • Business levels remain on par with 2011
  • Event attendance remains unchanged year on year
  • Housing revenue expected to grow at rate of less than 10 percent in 2012 compared to 2011
  • 25 percent of INCON Partner companies forecast growth in sponsorship revenue and at a higher rate than in 2011
  • Accommodation/ strategic meeting management services are the most important sources of revenue for INCON Partners
  • Cost of audio/visual, catering and venue hire is the same in 2012 as in 2011
  • The cost of delegate housing continues to rise
  • Suppliers are reacting quickly and effectively to market pressures on pricing
  • The positive projections for staffing increases noted in 2011 findings did not materialize to the levels anticipated
  • Half of INCON Partner companies expect to increase headcount in 2012
  • Significant increase in competition from in-house providers of PCO services in 2012
  • INCON Partner companies continue to provide increased range of services
  • Facebook is the most frequently used social media channel in conference promotion
  • The majority of INCON Partner companies devote less than 10 hours per week to social media activity
  • Increasing levels of engagement with mobile app technology
  • Hybrid meetings represent less than 10 percent of their current event portfolio for majority of INCON Partner companies
  • Increase in trend of conference ownership and/or guaranteed conference revenue responsibility being placed on INCON Partner companies
  • Budgeting, content capture/distribution and consulting/strategic meeting management services are top new trends for 2012/13

This research initiative contains the statistical analysis of 27 completed responses received in March 2012 from survey recipients who included managing directors of 10 INCON Partner companies.

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