The International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) has released a report, the 2014 Edition of Trends in the Conference Center Industry, highlighting the erosion of the position of the Certified Meetings Planner (CMP) and the push by venue owners to diversify the market base with non-conference business.
CEO Mark Cooper (pictured) said the report also indicated that IACC Conference Centres were, however, seeing continued recovery in their rates which have been higher in 2014 than in 2013.
Cooper said: “This, coupled with marginal improvements in operating profits, demonstrates that IACC member properties continue to control costs and manage another year of improving occupancies. Conference Centres, when benchmarked against hotels, are showing restraint in hiking prices to their customers, which shows a long-term approach and commitment to their customers.”
Cooper noted IACC members were predicting a “bumpy ride” for 2014 operating budgets. “With the economy experiencing some setbacks,” said Cooper, “a large part of conference centres’ business is realised from training.”
According to the new trends report, the greatest percentage of meetings (57.8%) held at residential conference centres were Training/Continuing Education sessions followed by Management Planning conferences.
“It is encouraging to see the significant growth in this type of events, as organisations invest now to put in place a skilled workforce to cope with further recovery,” Cooper added.
Corporate Centres achieved the greatest increase in Average Daily Rate in 2013, showing a 2.9 per cent increase over 2012.
Resort Centres achieved the highest occupancy rate in 2013, while college and university centres enjoyed the greatest gain in occupancy during 2013, the trends report found.
The report, compiled by PKF Hospitality Research on behalf of IACC, highlighted signs that Executive Conference Centres were experiencing an overall rebound in revenues and profitability for most of the members reporting. This trend, IACC believes, is consistent with a recovery in the meeting market in general.
Dave Arnold, Co-President and Chief Executive Officer-East with PKF Consulting USA, added: “With the reality of very little supply growth and demand growth in the five to seven per cent range, the foreseeable future bodes well for the health of the conference centre industry.”
“Certain challenges remain at the forefront,” Arnold admitted, “including a continuing erosion of the CMP to various ‘modified’ meeting packages, a continuing push by asset managers/owners to diversify the market base with non-conference business and dealing with on-line travel agency bookings which heretofore have had only a limited impact on group bookings. On the good news front, the market is showing an increased desire for independent, non-chain properties which, of course, has always been a strength of the conference centre industry.”
IACC’s Trends in the Conference Center Industry is available to buys via the IACC website.
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