Bigger Meetings and More of Them That's the bottom line of the 1998 Association Meetings Trends study recently published by the American Society of Association Executives. The study is updated every three years. The 1998 respondents reported a whopping 79 percent increase in educational seminars held and a 69 percent increase in conventions and meetings. Moreover, 50 percent of respondents reported an increase in meeting attendance since 1995, when the study was last conducted.

Here are some other findings of the study, which included 279 associations:

* The median size of association expositions grew to 26,500 square feet, up from 20,000 square feet.

* Associations used a median 1,083 room nights for conventions and annual meetings.

* A median 30 percent of associations' members attended annual meetings and conventions.

* The median amount paid for speakers at general sessions was $3,500.