Conference centers had a banner year in 2005, with total revenue increases of 13.7 percent and an almost 40 percent increase in profits, according to the 2006 edition of Trends in the Conference Center Industry, published by PKF Consulting and the International Association of Conference Centers. While group business at conference centers remains a healthy percentage of this type of facility’s business, last year it dropped from 68.9 percent of the total to 67 percent. Dave Arnold, CEO-East, PKF Consulting, credits the 6.1 percent total average increase in occupancy that conference centers enjoyed in 2005 mainly to transients and individual business travelers, according to a press release. He adds, “The fact that total revenue grew 13.7 percent on a per-available-room basis, but only 7 percent on a per-occupied-room basis, is partially indicative of management’s willingness to unbundle the complete meeting package rate in order to accommodate some nontraditional groups.”
Other findings from the report:
- Resort and corporate conference centers saw the biggest rises in profitability in 2005--108 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
- Corporate centers also saw the biggest increase in revenue per available room, at 12.7 percent.
- Training and continuing education were the main types of meetings held at residential conference centers, while day centers got most of their business from management-planning meetings.
- Rooms were the largest source of revenue for conference centers (39.1 percent of total revenue), followed by food (28.7 percent), and conference services (15.2 percent).