Convention and Trade Show Management

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 5,600 convention and trade show management services in the US charge fees to plan, organize, promote, and manage a variety of events, including business shows, trade shows, conventions, conferences, and meetings. General Service Contractors (GSC), which coordinate the set-up and tear-down of trade shows, generate the majority of revenue and profits from material handling fees charged to exhibitors.

Competition from Digital Communications

Conventions and trade shows compete with alternative and more flexible forms of communication, such as video conferences, webinars, and other digital vehicles.

Uneven Cash Flow

Demand for convention and trade show organization services varies throughout the year, and depends on the frequency, timing, and location of events.

Industry size & Structure

The average convention and trade show management services provider works out of a single location, employs fewer than 5 workers, and generates $2 million annually.

    • The convention and trade show management services industry consists of about 5,600 firms that employ about 50,000 workers and generate about $11.7 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated at the top and fragmented at the bottom; the top 50 companies account for about 48% of industry revenue.
    • Large companies include Freeman and Viad Corporation. Large firms may have international operations.
                                    Industry Forecast
                                    Convention and Trade Show Management Industry Growth
                                    Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                    Recent Developments

                                    Jan 9, 2024 - Meetings Demand Holds Steady
                                    • While hotel demand and guest room rates are expected to post modest gains in 2024, hotels that tend to host the most business events are expected to outperform the overall industry, according to recent research by CoStar. Hotels are expected to see a 1.8% increase in demand in 2024 and a 3% rise in room rates; moderate gains after 2023 saw significant pent-up demand in the wake of the pandemic. However, the upper-upscale segment, which includes most of the properties focused on business meetings, has outperformed other segments. Properties in the luxury and upper-upscale market sold more rooms in October 2023 than in the same month in 2019. CoStar expects to see demand spikes in the group market in spring 2024, September, and early November.
                                    • The final quarter of 2024 saw a host of events-industry consolidation and new partnerships, according to Trade Show News Network (TSNN). Trade show and experiential marketing firm STAR Group acquired fellow events company Exhibit Edge, which the firms said would allow them to work in a wider variety of larger events. Marketplace Events purchased the spring and fall events of the SAHBA Home & Garden Shows from the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association. The move is in keeping with Marketplace Events’ strategy of acquiring consumer shows owned by nonprofit homebuilder trade associations. Also in Q4, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) chose Smithbucklin as its association management partner. Formerly a standalone organization, the AAML will now be part of Smithbucklin’s Professional Societies and Communities network of clients.
                                    • The recently released 2024 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express Global Business Travel highlights several key trends and challenges the industry is likely to face in 2024. On a scale of one to 10, 84% of meeting industry respondents had an optimism rating of eight or higher for meetings in 2024. In North America, nearly 20% of meetings in 2025 are expected to be virtual, 63% will be in-person, and 18% will be hybrid events. The top technologies that meeting planners will use for meetings and events in 2024 include mobile apps (65% of respondents), on-site check-in tools (53%), QR codes (49%), AI (42%), virtual reality (40%), and wearable technology (30%). As for challenges, 54% of event professionals based in North America said their top challenge would be costs (54%), followed by location availability (44%), budget cuts (39%), flight availability (32%), and hotel staffing levels (26%).
                                    • While business travel costs are expected to continue to rise in 2024, they will likely do so at a slower pace, according to the CWT Global Business Travel Association Travel Price Forecast 2024. In 2023, the average cost per day for event and meeting attendees increased 5.6% compared to the prior year but is forecast to rise 2.9% in 2024. Average daily food and beverage cost per attendee increased 6.9% in 2023, but price growth is projected to slow to 2.1% in 2024. In 2023, average daily rates (ADR) for group hotel bookings rose 4.4% in 2023, but ADR is expected to drop to 3.5% growth in 2024. Price growth for average regional airfares is forecast to drop to 1.8% in 2024 after growing by 2.2% in 2023.
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