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PCMA Convene Magazine, the leading meetings industry publication for educational content and professional development, published the results of its annual Meetings Market Survey, considered as an industry benchmark for the past 23 years.

Of the more than 400 association, independent and corporate planners who completed the latest survey in late 2013, 44 percent experienced an increase in attendance at their 2013 leading event and 41 percent expected growth in 2014.Thirty-three percent said they had more exhibitors at their main 2013 convention and nearly 30 percent expected exhibitor growth to continue this year. The average exhibition imprint, however, decreased from 124,000 square feet in 2012 to 108,000 square feet in 2013.

While most survey respondents said leading meeting indicators were improving, many listed situations negatively affecting certain sectors, including more rigid guidelines for medical meetings and policies that cut into government-employee attendance as well as climbing hotel costs and airfares affecting all meetings.

“On the whole, meeting professionals are optimistic about the year ahead. Many of the respondents expect meetings to pick up slightly along with the slow growth of the overall economy,” said Michelle Russell, editor in chief, Convene Magazine. “And despite the fact that meeting budgets with an exhibition component held steady over last year — and nearly one-third of respondents expected to have a larger budget to work with this year — the majority continue to be asked by management to trim meeting expenses. Doing more with less seems to be a given for many.”

Focused mainly on key metrics of the industry’s vitality, such as attendance, budgets, exhibitors and revenues, social media, virtual events and other efforts have been included in the annual Meetings Market Survey in recent years.

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