AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres, conducted a member survey last April, just as oil prices began to skyrock, and found that 84 percent of respondents reported increases in business over the previous year and only 16 percent saw decreases. The Brussels-based association of 160 convention and exhibition centers also found that those who reported increases attributed it to business already on the books along with expectations of newinitiatives and market diversification. Those who saw decreases referenced deteriorating economic conditions, increasing competition, and difficulty maintaining the recent record business "highs” as the key factors.
The survey also revealed that 42 percent of members were more confident about future business prospects this year than they were last year, with only 12 percent saying they were less confident. This was a reduction from the previous year’s confidence levels, when 55 percent said they were “more confident” and 5 percent said they were “less confident.”
Anticipated challenges during the next three years include higher expectations for increased revenues and profitability and the prospect of financing, governance, and management reviews. Political changes and community attitudes were also seen as potential challenges, as were competition, environmental concerns, and a greater reluctance by clients to pay for additional services as well as reduced attendance at some events. Centers’ expected operating challenges include a combination of increasing costs, increasing government regulation, and labor-related issues such as staff shortages, labor disruptions, and a need for more frequent replacement and training.
For more about the association, visit http://www.aipc.org/.
For more articles about how the economy is affecting meetings and conventions, visit the economy section.