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 5,200 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 8 workers and generates $3-4 million annually.

    • The convention and trade show management services industry consists of about 5,200 firms that employ about 42,800 workers and generate about $18.7 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

                                    Dec 2, 2022 - Aviation Fuel Price Decreases
                                    • Aviation fuel prices decreased 1.2% month over month in October, according to the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Prices fell even as usage increased due to a rebound in air travel. The price of aviation fuel remained elevated, however, at $3.45 per gallon in October compared to $1.93 per gallon in the pre-pandemic month of January 2020. Convention and trade show attendance may increase if travel costs decrease.
                                    • The US Supreme Court let stand a federal appeals court ruling allowing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require mask use in airports and on planes, trains, intercity buses, and other forms of transportation. Masking requirements may be brought back if the number of COVID-19 cases increases again during the winter months. Convention and trade show attendance may decrease due to the combination of safety concerns during travel and the inconvenience associated with masking requirements. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruling said TSA has broad authority to maintain security and safety during national emergencies. TSA scrapped its mask mandate in April after a federal judge in a different case said the requirement exceeded the agency’s power.
                                    • A cross-industry task force of event industry stakeholders has identified key areas to support the B2B trade show industry’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon economy. The task force first identified the industry’s biggest material environmental impacts as greenhouse gas emissions from participant transport, energy use at venues and logistics, and shipping from the warehouses of to venues; waste generated at venues and at warehouses where many of the materials and booths are built and supplied; and booth construction inclusive of booth materials, construction methods, transport, reuse, and other variables. Key actions to improve sustainability include transitioning to renewable electricity at all parts of the transportation supply chain; creating time-bound targets to reach net zero carbon and move to a more circular model by phasing out unsustainable materials; and implementing industry-wide agreement on the design and material specifications of booths and commonly used equipment and materials.
                                    • The 2022 IMEX America, the largest trade show in the US for the global meetings, events, and incentive travel industry, was 45% bigger than the prior year, according to IMEX chairman Ray Bloom. Easing of travel restrictions plus 40% of returning exhibitors taking more booth space were key growth drivers. Some of the big themes at IMEX America in 2022 included service levels; contracts; wellbeing and mental health; the pros and cons of distributed workforces; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEI+B); and both personal and environmental sustainability.
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